There was a time when crime was largely personal. Physical bank robberies, murder and and sexual assault characterized the face of criminality; intimate acts committed physically by real, definable, palpable perpetrators. But there’s a new player in the criminal world, one that’s rapidly become one of the most widespread and devastating categories of crime. Continuing in our exploration of white collar crime, today we’ll be examining cyber crime and some of its major manifestations.
Definition and Categories
Cyber crime is defined simply as “criminal activities carried out by means of computers or the internet.” Despite its simple definition, it is complex and multifaceted, with unlimited potential for expression and application. Common types of cyber crime include:
- Phishing – a type of fraud where criminals pose as legitimate businesses, friends or family; sending convincing emails in order to pilfer money from naive targets
- Identity Theft – the use of computers and the internet to steal a person’s private information; increasingly common due to online forms and payment options
- Cyber Terrorism – a form of terrorism relying on the internet to attack governmental security systems, steal sensitive data or surveil government activity
- Cyber Bullying – the use of social media and other forms of technology to harass, embarrass and intimidate classmates or peers; common in adolescents, resulting in varying degrees of psychological trauma and, in severe cases, suicide
Evolution and Evasion
Cyber criminals are often highly experienced hackers, with in-depth knowledge of programming and software development. This makes it impossible to definitively stop cyber crime, because the criminals are constantly developing new ways to cheat the systems that were put in place to address the last iteration. Additionally, these mavericks are experts at covering their tracks and concealing their identities, so arrests and convictions are incredibly difficult. Fortunately, equally experienced government employees are well equipped to fight cyber crime in its ever evolving forms and mitigate otherwise devastating attacks.
Statistics and Summary of Cyber Crime
According to Forbes Magazine, $2,900,000 is lost to cyber crime every minute. This staggering statistic is only one of many. Cyber crime cost the healthcare industry $25 billion in 2019 alone, and is only increasing in financial devastation with every passing year. Unhindered by distance or physical boundaries, it’s sweeping across the world and wreaking financial and emotional havoc on businesses and individuals alike. So if you’re using the internet for financial transactions or the entry of private information, use extreme caution; know who you are dealing with, use security software, and only provide payment information on secured websites.