Introduction

In the last few years, cyber crime has begun to increase in both complexity and the financial costs that are incurred as a result of losses, as well as the expenses involved in trying to prevent such crimes. Cyber crime remains a significant problem, particularly in light of the technological advances that have been made, thus allowing companies and governments from around the world to engage in international business. Below are just a few of the ways in which cyber crime can impact society as well as a look at potential remedies.

The Effects of Cyber Crime

Criminals can take advantage of the advances made in technology in a number of different ways. As the Internet has continued to evolve, it has created significant opportunity for criminals, providing them with the opportunity to hide behind digital anonymity. As a result, cyber crime may affect society in a variety of ways, including both online and offline.

Identity Theft

When an individual becomes a victim of cyber crime, he or she can be affected in a number of ways. Becoming a victim can affect that individual for the rest of his or her life. Among the most common techniques utilized by cyber criminals today is phishing, which involves sending false emails to victims. The criminal may claim to be a bank or some other type of financial institution and request that the victim send confidential personal or financial information. When the victim sends such information, the criminal is then able to gain access to the victim’s credit and bank accounts. The criminal may also open new accounts in the victim’s name, thus destroying his or her credit rating. It can take months or even years to repair this type of damage.

Security Costs

Although cyber crime can involve private individuals, many cyber criminals focus their activities on businesses. Both small and large businesses can become the victim of such crimes. One of the ways in which such crimes may occur is that hackers attempt to take over private company servers in order to steal information. Millions of dollars are spent each year by businesses in an effort to stem the rising tide of cyber crime. This is money that could be spent elsewhere in the company, including in marketing and product development.

Monetary Losses

Along with the costs spent on attempting to prevent cyber crime, there are also the monetary losses to consider that often result from such crimes. Losses associated with cyber crime can be tremendous. Each year, cyber crimes can add up to billions of dollars lost. Although consumers have become increasingly wise to the types of attacks launched by cyber criminals, those same criminals have since developed increasingly advanced techniques to continue their illegal gains.

Piracy

Although it is sometimes touted as a victimless crime, piracy is actually anything but. This type of cyber crime can have significant effects on the music, entertainment, and software industries. It is difficult to calculate the exact amount of monetary damage that has resulted from piracy, but estimates indicate that such damages could range from hundreds of millions of dollars to as much as hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Consequently, copyright holders have worked diligently to enact stricter laws against the theft of intellectual property. Such actions have led to laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which make it possible for copyright holders to target file sharers and then bring legal action against those individuals for large sums of money in order to counteract the potential financial damage that can result from their online activities.

Legal Responses to Cyber Crime

Since computers were invented, almost immediately there existed statutes in place to protect individuals and organizations from such crimes. It happens on all levels as well, obviously nations have their own laws which local and regional laws tend to mirror.

Arguably one of the most popular statutes in place for government’s to investigate cyber criminals is the Patriot Act of 2011 that came from a direct result of the Terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. The Act authorizes intercept voice communications on the Internet, something that the public view as a potential violence of their personal privacy.

A significant problem regarding the investigation of cyber crime is the lack of an established framework on an international scale. It will be something that needs to be addressed but its plausibility with not all countries wishing to open up such information for everyone to access makes this difficult to implement.

Penalties

Numerous laws are in place that can see the perpetrator in jail for up to 15 years for your first offense, which can then increase for future offenses. On the lower level, penalties can include fines of up to $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison. For a full list of penalties according to the breached law, please read here.