ICT is a collective term used to mean the use of both wireless and wired networks to communicate between different media. Signals transmit from a source to a single or multiple user system. It utilizes media such as telephone and computer networks to implement communication. They collect, analyze and manipulate information to give a desired result. It incorporates the use of information technology, broadcast media and telecommunication tactics as well as both audio and video data transmissions. This merging of these modern systems use has made communication much easier and the world has seized being a large mass of land.
Society is prone to change; today technology has accelerated change in society to act rapidly, leaving its effects that may be either negative or positive. ICT has become an avenue for crime to take place. Many fraudulent people have turned to phishing and pharming in order to commit software crimes in the society against innocent people. Pharming is the manipulation of data transfer from its required destination to another site by a hacker. Phishing is the fraudulent process of acquiring sensitive, personal information from personnel by posing as trustworthy entities.
Crimes committed using ICT include software piracy. This involves theft of money, personal identity, resources and other valuable information. Software crime occurs when computer software releases to social network, thus causing loss in privatization of documents and their usefulness. Initially, piracy only occurred at a terribly slow rate, since few people could have computer access. It would also cost the pirate money to print out copies of software in order to issue them to people. By the introduction of social media, it became easy to communicate with people all over the world. Pirates do not necessarily have to run a cost to distribute software.
In fact, an individual may become a pirate without his/her knowhow. For example, a computer engineer may develop a three-dimension game and get an opening to sell it through an online company. He shares it with his best friend who shares it in a social media to his friends through downloads. The game seizes a place in the market since the public got the original piece free. The creator suffers a massive loss from the piracy committed.
ICT has brought about an increase in the spread of computer viruses. Computer viruses creation at first was for fun since they were annoying but harmless. People would spread them to others to create a nasty joke. Nowadays, people produce computer viruses to cause destruction of computer files, especially in areas of record keeping. This happens in the normal process of performing activities such as opening an electronic mail, or blogging into an infected site. The computer virus attacks the host computer and multiplies itself rapidly, affecting all files in the system. These viruses cause irregular behavior in the host system, which eventually collapses.
Competitors use it in the field of business, whereby one sends a virus to the competitor company system and corrupts all files, leaving no company records. Without backup, the company seizes to exist. This occurs when a company has a social network site in which it invites comments from the public to help it solve its problems in service delivery. The computers in companies have common networks; thus, the virus spreads at ease. Apart from spread through electronic mails, viruses also spread through shared memory cards, flash disks or compact disks during information transfer between computers.
Another crime committed through ICT is hacking. Computer engineers or people with a substantial amount of knowledge about computer systems facilitate this process. The software engineer accesses data from a company and manipulates it to change the form. It includes alteration of company financial records, students grading systems and employment details among others. It mainly occurs when a given institution posts results or when implementing change in a given company. The hacker has to have access to the affected account in order to create changes in it. They also steal data in order to create competitive hypothesis against the host companies. The hacker may also delete personal works to slow down the host and destroy them in the business sector.
Professional thieves post job vacancies or advertisements in the open social media sites. They require applicants to pay subscription fees through given account numbers, in which they pay. The job may not be in existence, but the designers of such sites generate income from the subscribers. Theft may also take the form of registration to give details of the person registering. This includes details of account numbers or credit and debit card numbers. The hackers use this information to access the host bank accounts and withdraw the money away from the host residence area. This crime is difficult to track since the thief’s identity remains unknown; and the distance may not allow the host to claim charges against them due to boundary laws (Lazer, 2004, p. 76).
Social networks allow massive interaction of people simultaneously, which allows people to engage in entertainment and fun activities. This takes the form of online games and competitions. Some of these games create a suitable avenue for illegal generation of income such as gambling (Felkenes & Whisenand, 1972, p. 67). A mastermind comes up with software that will enable online competitions through gambling. This induces the engagement of people in illegal activities in order finance for the gambling activities. It mainly affects young people who are not financially stable but want to fit in the global community. The young people will thus cause insecurity in their areas of residence. This will in the long run cause increased levels of insecurity worldwide.
Social networks constitute the cheapest methods of communication. Most people turn to online chatting using social networks, or the use of electronic mails other than using telecommunication. Social networks are conducive since they allow for communication without keeping of records. Over the years, illegal groups such as terrorists communicate with their counterparts in host nations using social media. Telecommunication allows for recording of information through hacking systems by professional, regulatory bodies. Terrorists plan on how to attack an area using codes to communicate. This may be in the form of manual, audio or video communication methods (Foster, 2005, p. 38).
Shipment of illegal arms and drugs is nowadays easy using country boundary areas. This happens through creating contact with immigrants in the shipment area. The immigrants face poverty, lack of jobs and spread of diseases. Drug traffickers target these people since they do not have the choice of acquiring decent jobs in the new country. Internet use helps them to create trade routes and navigate the shipment of the drug containers. The drug traffickers use the social media and telecommunication activities to make it available to the public and prevent tracking by local authorities. The social media use also allows for advertisement of the drugs through indirect methods such as peer influence. The drug traffickers also invite young people to engage in distribution of these drugs to their communities.
Civil crimes occur in the use of ICT when people use abusive language against each other. People with grudges against each other tend to bring their conflict to the social media sites. This uses incites to innocent people who comment negatively to the person receiving abuse. Some people post pornographic materials to social sites to destroy the reputation of others. Children are victims of this behavior, and acquire easy access of pornographic material (Clark, 1970, p. 302). This leads to children being sexually active at an early age; of which the overall effect is unwanted pregnancies, and school dropouts. Children may also engage in theft and illegal means of acquiring money to access internet. These crimes flow to countries all over the world as social networks lack geographical limits.
ICT crimes can be occupational. This involves getting into crime while engaging in normal working activities. It occurs when untrustworthy personnel undertake company procedures and retrieve information from the system. These personnel work for the institution such as auditors, software engineers, and project managers. Some of these people embezzle money from the funds to accomplish projects and alter the figures in the statements such increasing the expenses in order to cover up for the dent made in the budget. They are respectful personnel in society rather than criminals. They execute these crimes at ease since they have free access, knowledge and capacity to commit the criminal activities. The most common incidences of occupational crime are espionage, database alterations and piracy of institutional programs (Manning, 2008, p. 53).
Occupational crimes occurs using stock exchange personnel in order to commit fraud. They alter the market prices of shares of the company of interest that is positive. The customers presume to buy shares that are at favorable prices as the broker personnel sell to them with maximum prices. The personnel then sell the made shares from customers until the original prices resume. This may lead to the frequent repetition of fraudulent activities.
Mischievous crimes emanate from the use of ICT knowledge by young personnel who are curious to learn new things from the internet. They fall in the youth bracket, and perform these activities due to the urge to apply new skills they have learnt from learning institutions. Most of these people also want to access sites with material that they do not have access to through their parents such as films with pornographic material. They get satisfaction from committing crimes such as breaking into people’s accounts and computer systems. Their main interest is getting access to these systems and not altering information such as hackers. This is so since they have no intentions of destroying anyone’s reputation or engaging in any competitive businesses. They fall in the category of people building a foundation for their life and economic processes.
Their actions of getting access to systems without permission from the owners make them criminals, though they do it for fun. Some groups may use mischief to spread viruses to the systems; this becomes a serious crime of vandalizing the system. This lot performs these actions in order to relinquish their anger towards the company for not accepting them into employment or for satisfaction (Langlois, 2008, p. 61).
Another crime committed using ICT is professional crime. This occurs when individuals engage in mass destruction of moral values in society using social media. They focus their attention into destroying crucial systems such as government or law enforcement agencies. They act as system terrorists by inciting people against the nation or companies, which they hate. The criminals become professionals in cyber crimes and can cause massive destruction to a nation. They release fundamental information to the public or enemy nations to destroy the host nation. They use professional expertise to commit the criminal activities against innocent people.
A compelling example is the installation of computerized equipment on ATM’s that resemble the genuine ATM. The system causes irregular behavior and captures the customer visa cards and record the input security numbers. The customers then wait to lay their cases to the bank the next morning, whereas the criminals spend time withdrawing money from the bank’s ATM.
Professional ICT criminals also engage in the creation of porn web sites that trap people in financial engagements. The innocent person logs into a pornographic site that has the design to subscribe people unwillingly into the site; and requiring the person to pay up occasional subscriptions such as monthly or daily. The subscriptions have no way of unsubscribing from unless by use of professional expertise. This causes the personnel’s money to be used up to pay for involuntary subscriptions. The professional fraudsters invite terrorists and illegal groups to gang up and assist in the spread of professional crimes (Savona, 2004, p. 81).
Professional criminals also conduct numerous crimes such as blackmail to people, car jack and kidnapping cases. They formulate a system that registers personnel who would be interested in car tracking devices installed in their vehicles. They install their own tracking devices on expensive and recent vehicles that are marketable. The tracking devices help to plan for a car jack by viewing the common routes that the vehicle follows. They may also kidnap influential people to extract money from them or their large businesses (McGuire, 2007, p. 89). They may also manipulate these people to obtain favors such as retrieving confidential information from the local authorities.
Monetary related crimes are common to the professional ICT criminals. They access online business sites or advertising and delivery companies. They encrypt the systems to cause double transactions such as double payment for goods bought. This occurs where people use online markets to shop and buy goods. They hack into their bank accounts and cause double withdrawal of cash for a single transaction. They also involve themselves in cleaning fake money. They bring up online businesses that obtain money from their customers, and release fake money in the form of change to the customers. The professional criminals also design electronic recorders to be input to the point of sale terminals in business premises that record debit and credit card details through skimming. They then use this information to obtain cash withdrawals from individual personnel.
ICT has developed over time and many people are acquiring the expertise to use its knowledge. Criminal activities arising from ICT have increased at a tremendous rate in a short period. The internet and social media are the fastest way of gathering information on the most current issues in society. They are also particularly amusing and entertaining. This makes it the most favorable site to commit fraudulent activities, as well as public inciting.
The incorporation of ICT in today’s community has made the world a small village of interactions. It has no physical boundaries, therefore, difficult to control. Criminals have moved from committing manual crimes to professional criminal activity using ICT. This calls for installation of control measures that will help to reduce the crimes in order to restore and uphold moral values in the society (Taylor, 2006, p. 57).
Regulatory and law enforcing authorities should learn how ICT crimes take place to outsmart the ICT criminals. There should be a body governing the social network users using international laws that charge people for abusing the freedom that comes with internet. The law enforcing authorities also have to learn how to use ICT to enforce the law to people, as it is the most convenient mass communication instrument. This will improve efficiency, speed up data processes and store enormous amounts of information by use of E-policing and community mobilization activities (Dibbell, 2010, p. 78). The prevention and detection of ICT crimes require the use of expensive expertise and equipment, which many states cannot afford. This creates the main problem of managing the criminal activities. However, the law enforcement agencies should seek a governing regulation against ICT crimes.
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