Cybercrime involves criminal activities that entail the use of the computer, mobile phones, or a computer network to cause loss, harm, or damage of reputation to an individual or organization. Criminal activities under cyber crime include child pornography, hacking, and unauthorized surveillance among others. Additionally, it may involve unauthorized access to confidential information or disclosure of such information without the knowledge of the authorized personnel or group of persons. According to Dunn Cavelty (2013), the cyber crime involves the use of telecommunication networks in addition to sophisticated cross-border networks that majorly attack organizations, countries, and individuals at an international level. However, like all forms of crimes, groups, nations, and individuals have faced challenges in actually dealing with crimes involving modern telecommunication equipment. The paper looks into theories that have shaped the challenges of cyber crime in the face of the growing need to address the offenses committed against organizations, individuals, and countries by use of telecommunication networks.
According to the Marxian theory, crime or criminal activities involve unlawful act is perpetrated against the elite members of the society as many criminals view the harsh economic conditions as environments created by the wealthy and those who control means of production (Holt & Bossler 2015). This mentality and disposition by criminals view the society as the unequal environment created and maintained by the rich who deprive them of employment, means of survival, and impede their ways of involving in income, generating activities. The criminals thus take it upon themselves to engage in cybercrime as a way of countering the growing wave of capitalism and inequality within the society. According to the theory, continued inequality will provide a breeding ground for criminal acts targeting the wealthy, those who own means of production as they have and control the internet and telecommunication networks. Therefore, any criminal activity aimed at the rich is a justified means of confronting their poor environment and inability to bring inequality (Holt & Bossler 2015). Such mentality presents a challenge to the fight of cybercrime in both developed and developing countries. The theory offers cybercrime not only a concern in the telecommunication sector but also as a societal issue that arises from factors beyond technology.
Structural-functionalism theory asserts that to control crime, governments need to enact legislations that are aimed at addressing the dynamics involved in cyber crime in addition to the risks entailed in cyber security. Governments all over the world have raised the concern and the need to have proper legislations in addition to institutional frameworks that can have the power and mandate to confront the growing menace of cyber crime (Holt & Bossler 2015). Due to the rising level of losses and impacts of cybercrime, governments have taken the task to protect and safeguard internet users in addition to the monetary losses incurred due to cyber crime. The move by the theory has changed the logistical and structural approach to the offence not only as a concern in the telecommunication sector but also as a growing societal challenge. According to Holt and Bossler (2015), government involvement and the legislations, gradually taking shape to counter cyber crime and cyber security risks is an indication of societal change towards cyber crime. However, on the other hand, lack of proper legislation aligned with technological nature of cyber crime and cyber security has promoted and encouraged fraudulent activities that emerge and arise from full-blown criminal acts.
According to the routine activity theory, crime is only committed if an offender has it in mind that the target is fitting and any likely guardian is not present. It thus means that it is the assessment of the situation that will motivate them to engage in the criminal act. The theory is a factor in cyber crime as it determines the involvement of a criminal in a cyber criminal act and the effectiveness of any form of guardianship present. The absence of cyber policing and legislations will continue to encourage cyber crime activities as most criminals take advantage of the lack of an adequate guardianship. The theory is thus pointing to how the lack of adequate guardianship is gradually changing the shape and motive of criminals towards cyber crime and the factors entailed in cyber security within a country, institutions, and amongst individual telecommunication users. The fact that the Global Information Infrastructure is moderate and open makes data transferred susceptible to theft or misuse by a criminal thus encouraging the act within the telecommunication sector. The theory is thus raising the concept of culpability of the entire telecom infrastructure with little guardianship framework (Holt & Bossler 2015).
Technology-enabled crime theory offers a framework and an understanding that entails forms of criminal acts involving telecommunication and ICT equipment. The theory has gradually shaped the understanding of techniques and tools that may be used in undertaking a cyber crime or any form of threat to cyber security. According to Holt and Bossler (2015) due to the continued rise in the use of telecommunication for electronic payments, government use of technology to run/manage its affairs, development of broadband services, and increased digitalization of data, in addition to wireless technologies, the theory identifies potential areas at risk of a criminal act. The theory has gradually shaped cyber crime and cyber security as a development in the telecommunication sector as bestowing both risks and benefits to its users. According to the theory, fraud, phishing, identity theft, and swindle arise due to the continued understanding of techniques and tools used in the telecommunication infrastructure thus shaping the nature of criminal activities undertaken by opportunists and criminals (Holt & Bossler 2015).
According to the control theory, communities characterized by income inequality, poverty, internal conflict, and disorganized management system often have high rates of criminal activities. The argument asks why the majority of people do not engage in illegal activities (Taylor et al., 2014). Factors that may influence an individual towards crime include amongst others frustration, hostility towards a given system, media perception, and internal constraints. The theory has shaped the perception of cyber crime and risks involved in cyber security as growing defiance by individuals towards the social structures of the society. Additionally, the theory has led to the common perception by the majority that cyber crime and cyber security is a complex defiance behavior by individuals who are frustrated and negatively influenced by social structures such as corruption in institutions and lack of job opportunities (Dunn Cavelty 2013).
The field of cyber crime is dynamic, complicated, challenging, and global. Despite concerted efforts to address the menace, cyber crime continues to rear its negative trend to organizations, governments, and individuals alike. According to Taylor et al., (2014) despite lack of resources and necessary authority to handle cyber crimes and threats to cyber security has led to increased cyber crime. Additionally, early strategy by the non-governmental organization to establish volunteer response groups, network information sharing and the use of safety guidelines helped mitigate cyber threats in addition to laying out strategic measures towards emerging cyber risks. The response-enabled institutions adopt a reactive approach towards countering emerging cyber crime trends that posed a threat to information sharing, storage, privacy (Holt & Bossler 2015). The response encouraged formal intervention that also included government involvement and international coordination that supported a wider scope of policing the telecommunication sector.
Additionally, according to Dunn Cavelty (2013), the use of cooperative threat reduction strategies proved successful in addressing the challenges of cyber crime during the earlier periods. The policy reinforced the obvious gap that existed in the governance of the telecommunication sector that further enabled industry players to adopt an all-inclusive approach to addressing the growing challenges of cyber crime and cyber security risks (Taylor et al., 2014). Another response that proved successful towards addressing the challenges of cyber crime involved the mobilization of international and national resources that aimed at creating an extensive security framework that addressed the rising challenges of cyber crime and cyber security risks. Organizations that spearheaded such initiatives included the Federal Trade Commission, and the United States Emergency Response Team. Other organizations include, WSIS, UNODC, OECD, NATO, and the European Network and Information Security Agency (Taylor et al., 2014). The organizations outlined strategic measures that aimed at addressing the growing challenges of cyber crime and cyber security threats in the midst of increased use of telecommunication tools and equipment. However, due to continued rise and improvement in telecommunication and technology, some of the earlier responses may prove inconsequential and ineffective in addressing increasing challenges in the warfare against cyber crimes and cyber security threats.
Taylor, R. W., Fritsch, E. J., & Liederbach, J. (2014). Digital crime and digital terrorism. New York: NY. Prentice Hall Press.
Dunn Cavelty, M. (2013). From CyberBombs to Political Fallout: Threat Representations with an Impact in the CyberSecurity Discourse. International Studies Review, 15(1), 105-122.
Holt, T. J., & Bossler, A. M. (2015). Cybercrime in progress: Theory and prevention of technology-enabled offenses. London. Routledge.
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