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Cybercrime: Theories and Managing

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In this unit, I learned that cybercrime refers to activities in which computers, telephones, cellular equipment and other technological devices are used for illicit purposes.

Speer (2000), states that computers are the most predominant form of information and communication technology used to commit cybercrime. Cybercrime is classified as Type 1 which is usually undertaken at a single event from the perspective of the victim, alternatively Type II refers to numerous activities in the cybercrime process. Examples of Type I cybercrime includes keystroke loggers, viruses, rootkits, Trojan horses whereas, type II examples include, cyberstalking and harassment, child predation, extortion, corporate espionage, cyber terrorism. This evolution of technology and globalization over the recent years has now linked countries around the world, improving communication and business however creating a gateway for cybercrime.

In my discussion on the question, how the use of Information and Communication Technology has assisted in the perpetration of this type of crime, I was in total agreement that the evolution of technology and globalization in recent years has now linked countries around the world, improved communication and created new platform for business, for example, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix. Due to this kind of global connection, perpetrators now have a platform to engage in cybercrime which I believe can be done with grate ease with great difficulty in being detected. I was surprised to have learnt that some cyber crimes, through the use of information and communication technology (ICT), includes daily activities as software piracy the illegal downloading of DVD movies, CD for personal entertainment or for distribution for retail.

Many people across the world have participated in the illegal downloading of music; with the view that this would not jeopardize the sales of artist. After gaining more insight and have a deeper understanding of cybercrime and that piracy is illegal I think that it would be difficult for law enforcement to crack down on piracy largely because of the frequency of such acts. Satellite Communication Usage criminal organizations have been dependent on digital technology for communication and record keeping. Forgery of official documents ICTs such as printers, scanners, computers and the internet are used to digitally reproduce official documents such as passports and credit cards. Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft that involves unauthorized individuals taking another’s credit card information for the purpose of charging purchases to the account or removing funds from it. Further, internet scams are the use of Internet services or software with Internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them. Other ICT cyber crimes include online dealing in illicit products, denial of service, terrorist communication and recruitment, online harassment, computer-enabled sex crimes and virus attacks.

Theories of Cyber Crime

In this unit, I gained knowledge of theories of cyber crime; its purpose of explanation, prediction and intervention. It is understood that there are six criminological perspectives on cybercrime. A discussion question, with a case study with the identification of possible theories of Criminology was assigned as a means of conducting thorough research to allow for further understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of criminology. I was confident in the conclusion drawn in that the theory selected for the case study was a Classical criminologist. This made up of rational choice, general deterrence theory and routine theory. Rational theory believes that people weigh the potential cost and the benefits of committing a crime. If the goals outweigh the punishment, such as gaining money, the crime will be committed. General Deterrence theory states that people can be deterred from committing crimes if there are severe, swift and certain punishments.

Routine activities state that in for a crime to be committed, three specific criteria must be involved; there must be a motivated offender, a suitable target, as well as the absence of a capable guardian. I agreed that the case study was not based on Trait Theories which states that people commit offences because of the biological characteristics and psychological disorders. The impact of certain foods, chemicals, and other substance have linked criminals behaviours such as mental disorder which after their decision making and behaviours to commit a crime.

Rondell and Natasha stated in their discussions that the case study was geared toward social learning theories which states that people commit crime as an indirect consequence of how they were raised, educated and acculturated in society including schools, encouraging parents, religious groups and social organizations. Social process theory has three main branches where social learning theory stresses that people learn how to commit crimes social, control theory analyses suggest that the failure of society to control criminal tendencies and labelling theory maintains that negative labels produce criminal careers. The other theory includes social structure theories which suggest people placed in socioeconomic structure influence their chance of becoming a criminal. Individuals who are poor are more likely to commit crimes because they are more unlikely to achieve monetary or social success in any way.

Social structure theory has three schools of thought; social disorganization theory which suggests that people living in urban areas commit crimes because they live in areas where social control is broken down. Strain theory states that people who are unable to achieve personal or professional goals as committing a crime into achieve their goals illegally.

Cultural Deviance theory is associated with both disorganization and strain theory. A person raised in lower-class believes it is seen as normal to commit crimes. Conflict theories suggest that crime in any society is caused by class conflicts and that the laws are created by those in power to protect their rights and interest. To the classes’ surprise, the case study was related to Transition Theory which was explained by Mr Sealy in a Bbc session upon which I understood and agreed that transition theory argues that people behave differently when they move from physical space to cyber space and vice versa.

Social and Economic Impact of Cyber Crime

In this unit, I learnt that victims of crime could be anyone or everyone for example government agencies, business, online users, women and children primarily attributable to the utilization of computers or a technology device such as phones or tablets. I further understood that the cost of cybercrime is not definitive largely because most victims do not get reported due to embarrassment, fear of loss of business when customers are aware of the company’s weakness in its security system resulting in breech and legal challenges. There are many different costs associated with cybercrime which can be demarcated into two main silhouettes; namely direct and indirect costs or tangible and intangible cost. Tangible cost of protecting institutions and individuals against cybercrimes includes security measures as the installation of physical and virtual protection such as antiviral software, insurance costs and costs associated with gaining compliance to required IT standards. Whereas, indirect costs pertain to cybercrimes costs which continues to accrue at severed time periods after the crime has taken place and the damages for repair such as embarrassment, damage to the business-client relationship. Of which, there may never be full recovery, reputation in addition loss of time. Cybercrime has become a silent global digital epidemic. Most internet users worldwide are exposed and may become victims of cybercrime.

Speer (2000) defines cybercrime as activities in which computers, telephones, cellular equipment and other technological devices are used for illicit purposes. Most often cybercrime is done for personal information or financial gain. As a result, business organization, government agencies, online users and individuals become victims of cybercrimes, through exposure of viruses, cyberstalking and harassment, stock market fraud and corporate espionage.

According to Cyber Security, “Underpinning the Digital Economy a report by the Institute of Directors and Barclays bank”, companies are keeping quiet about being victims of a cyber attack, even if their operations were badly affected by such an incident. The report indicated that only 28% of cyber-attacks were reported despite the presence of a cyber-crime department. The research found that most victims fear that the attack would tarnish their reputation resulting in further losses as it is believed that customers would have little to no confidence in their business particular with reference to the security of information. I believe that a business should report if it has been hacked as its first priority should be its customers, not its reputation. Awareness is essential to customers as this makes them knowledgeable and provides with information to conduct business with caution. Bank member may resort to using the traditional method of banking until the problem is resolved. Companies and online users will inquire of the direct cost with the need of additional security with a continuous series of upgrade to ensure that computers/database is protected. Policy makers need also to enact legislation to prosecute attackers while it is requiring that law enforcement improve their response rate to cybercrimes through improved prosecutions in order to improve confidence and inadvertently reporting cybercrime.

Managing Cybercrime

An increasing growth in technology has become essential for people and business across the world, thus resulting in an increase in cybercrime. For individuals to be punished for cyber crime, laws and regulations pertaining to illegal use of computers or other electronic IT, devices needs to be enacted for the protection of everyone in computerized societies. Without these aforementioned laws, members of society would not be able to distinguish between a legal and an illegal act. Hence, countries around the world such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, England and the USA have taken steps to implement laws for cyber crimes.

This unit’s discussion question focused on transnational offences and the challenges associated with prosecuting persons who commit these offences. I replied and understood that transnational offences are crimes that involve more than one country in their inception, perpetration and direct or indirect effect. Transnational offences include human trafficking, illicit trafficking of drugs or arms, people smuggling and cybercrimes. There are many challenges faced by law enforcement in prosecuting persons who commit transnational offences.

One of the first impediments that investigators face daily is the identification of a suspect of transnational offences such as cybercrimes for prosecution. It was further discussed of the measures imposed by Pakistan to treat cybercrime is the death penalty which I was not in agreement with. In my opinion, this was not warranted particularly in the case of the Caribbean region. The first measure should be an amendment of the legislation with additional punishment depending on the severity of the crime. Despite the death penalty have the advantage of deterring persons from committing such crime the punishment in my opinion this may be too harsh.

Preventing Cyber Crime via Information Security

In this unit I understood and grasped that various protective and preventative measures that victims of Cybercrime can utilize. I learnt that for individuals and companies to be protected the use of passwords to prevent hackers who have unauthorized access to their emails, financial, health, files, servers and credit card data are recommended; a proposal in which I am in agreement with. It is suggested that individuals select a strong password consisting of a mixture of at least eight upper and lower-case letters, symbols, or numbers.

I agree that online users make it a practice of not using their age, name and date of birth in their passwords as this may be the first thing a hacker would use to try to break your password. It is also suggested that the same password not be used on different or multiple sites and it is also proposed for the updates of password from time to time. I support the view that lack of security measures could impact negativity on the effectiveness of an organization security system. I concur that the measures should be employed in an effort to protect organizations’ IT security with the inclusion of training and awareness of staff personnel. This initiative will educate the staff about new IT software, inform on the use of such software and point to the importance of the new security system against cyber attacks. I agree that it is important that a security assessment which examines the hardware, software, data and human factors control in the effort to establish how effective the system is operational and what changes need to be made to be undertaken.

Further, a baseline security assessment is required to be carried out regularly in the effort to identify the weaknesses in the IT security system and to provide the necessary recommendations for improvement according to the changing threats to the organization. I am in approval of some other preventative measure which organizations could adopt in administrative precaution by having controlled access to the security system. The measure of physical precaution helps safeguard organizations security system against vendors and visitors around the organization premises and in cyberspace. For example, have a different Wi-Fi access for visitors which could be closely monitored by the IT technicians. Information system security strengthened by updating licensed software and encrypting data when passed over the internet. If someone wants to hack a company system I believe that this could be done during closing hour by hacking of the company password to gain access.

Future Opportunities for Managing Cybercrime

I agree that in the attempt to manage cybercrime the government need to come together with industries, law enforcement, private sectors of intelligence and the community. Government could implement laws, provide funding, public awareness, assign adequate task force and utilize civic resources to help reduce cyber crime. I propose for all joint efforts by governments in the establishment of a global standard for cyber laws to extend jurisdiction across the globe in an attempt to capture and prosecute the perpetrators of such crime at an international standard. I do not agree that this can be handled by single force but through all governments’ effort. Not forgetting that when laws ensure that the victims of crimes receive justice and criminals receive the relevant penalty for their crimes and deter persons from committing these crimes.

Secondly, I understand for the need for greater public awareness of the laws on cybercrime and how individuals, companies and organizations can be safeguarded against cyber attack. I am in support of a government who has implemented laws with stiff penalties to deter persons from committing this crime. As mentioned above, the general deterrence theory stated that people can be deterred from committing crimes if there are severe, swift and certain punishments. I lean towards a government who provides funding to help with cyber crime. Funding provide the necessary resources for government to get the human capital and infrastructure and to implement the necessary legislations to combat such acts. Funding will also help with building new departments primarily geared towards combatting cybercrimes.

The Role of Computer Forensics in Managing Cyber Crime

Computer forensic science is the science of acquiring, preserving, retrieving, and presenting data that has been processed electronically and stored on computer media to be used in court. We can agree that despite forensic being present for centuries computer forensics is a new field of study. This is attributable to the increase in technology and the resulting new genre of crime namely cybercrime. Reflecting on the unit, I have gained knowledge on computer forensic and having understood that it is a new which law enforcement are not very familiar thus posing many challenges. I am in favour that police officers, prosecutors and judges are not trained in this field and require further understanding of computer forensic to correctly execute their duties in the judicial administration. With a proper understanding of how to investigate and collect evidence relating to computer forensics, it will help law enforcement to put more cyber criminals behind bars.

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