Cybercrime or Computer crime is a criminal act by using a computer that transpires over the internet. It can also be defined as a criminal act that involves computers and networks (called hacking). The types of cybercrime are grouped into three categories. First, the internet enables the establishing and maintenance of cybercrime market. Second, the internet enables a venue for fraudulent behavior, (that is cyber fraud) and lastly the internet has become a venue for the development of cybercriminal communities.
Cybercrime markets: The Internet allows illegal markets to be created and maintained. The internet creates opportunity for its users to secure their identities and to be in remote locations to create and be a partaker of illicit markets. For example, cybercriminals can access various websites to trade (i.e. buy or sell) merchandise illegally through illegal sites or legitimate sites (e.g. bay). Some of these websites finds it difficult to trace back their original sources. One of the most common forms of cybercrime is digital piracy (Gopal, Sanders, Bhattacharjee, Agrawal & Wagner, 2004). Digital piracy is the illegal act of copying digital software, goods, digital documents, digital audio (including voice and music) and digital video for any purpose without license permission from and compensation to the copyright holder (Gopal ,2004;Higgins, Fell, & Wilson 2006)
Several researchers have identified sub forms of digital piracy (i.e., video piracy and audio) as being tremendously pervasive (Gopal, 2004; Hinduja, 2003). Higgins (2006) defined video piracy and audio as the “illegal act of downloading or uploading digital video or sound without explicit permission from and compensation to the copyright holder” (p.4). The International federation of phonographic industries (IFPI) (2006) estimates that at least one of the three music purchase around the world is an illegal copy. They further estimated that 37% of all CDs purchased in 2005 were pirated, it resulted in 1.2 billion illegal copies bought worldwide .Cyber fraud: Cyber fraud involves behaviors that occur with deceit and guile. A scenario of this behavior is identity fraud. Hoar (2001) explained that identity theft is a criminal scheme for the new millennium. Unfortunately, the explanation of identity theft varies. For instance, one definition of identity theft is “the illegal use of another’s person identity information” (Bellah, 2001, P. 222). Others have viewed identity as personal and other financial information stolen with the sole aim of creating another person’s identity as the thief’s own (Identity theft, 2004). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC, 2006) views identity theft as “Occurrence when someone access your personally identifying information such as Address, Credit card number or social security number, name without your license or permission to carry out criminal activities or fraud”. In some scenario, Identity fraud involves private or other information or totally invented to gain access to financial accounts or makes purchases (Higgins, Hughes, Ricketts, & Fell, 2005)
Cybercrime communities: The internet creates a place for cybercriminal communities to occur and increase rapidly. The communities may be viewed as subcultures. Subcultures are cohesive cultural systems that changes in form and substance from the dominant culture. For example, subculture entails some of the individuals that intend to understand computer operating system (i.e., hackers) or individuals that wish to hijack or steal telephone services (i.e., phreakers). Other criminals or deviants may also be interested in online subcultures such as depressives, bulimics, pedophiles and anorectics).
In conclusion, Cybercrime creates a venue for individuals to connect with others from different geographical locations. Thus, someone in Canada can participate in a community in Singapore.
Gopal, R. D., Sanders, G. L., Bhattacharjee, S., Agrawal, M., & Wagner, S. (2004). A behavioral model of digital music piracy. Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, 14, 89–105.
Higgins, G. E., Fell, B. D., & Wilson, A. L. (2006). Digital piracy: Assessing the contributions of an integrated self-control theory and social learning theory. Criminal Justice Studies, 19, 4
Hinduja, S. (2003). Trends and patterns among online software pirates. Ethics and Information Technology, 5, 49–61
International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI). (2006). The recording industry 2006 piracy report: Protecting creativity in music. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/piracy-report2006.pdf
Hoar, S. (2001). Identity theft: The crime of the new millennium. USA Bulletin 49
Bellah, J. (2001). Training: Identity theft. Law & Order, 49(10), 222
Identity Theft. (2004, December 15). Confusion between fraud, identity theft frustrates industry. LRP Publications, 8, 12.
Federal Trade Commission. (2006). National and state trends in fraud & identity theft: January–December 2005. Retrieved August 21, 2013, http://www.ftc.gov/sentinel/reports/sentinel-annual-reports/sentinel-cy2005.pdf
Higgins, G. E., Hughes, T., Ricketts, M. L., & Fell, B. D. (2005). Student perception and understanding identity theft: We’re just dancing in the dark. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, 5(5), 163–178.