Two of the main motivations for most cyber crimes are the acquisition of money and/or information. It is for this reason that many if not all of the publicly and private owned companies and agencies in the world today go to great lengths to acquire security against cyber criminals. Failing to do so usually results in dire consequences for that company as well as its clients. Just recently in 2008, Bank of America was attacked by hackers and ended up losing the information of 17 million of its customers (Bank of America,2010).


To the right is a graph from a 2009 United States Internet Crime Complaint Center report showing the amount of money lost because of cyber crimes.
The graph shows that the United States lost roughly 1.7 billion dollars over a ten year period fighting cyber crime, and it if we go by the trend in this graph, it's only to get worse in the future.

Social / Political

The prevalence of cyber crime has created the question of whether or not Internet access should be regulated. This has led to a debate about 'Net Neutrality', the idea that all Internet users should have the ability and freedom to access any information on the World Wide Web without being restricted by the government or in any other way (Joch,2009). While this may seem like a good idea to some, it is also one of the main reasons that cyber crime can happen at all; the ability to remain anonymous while at the same time being able to go where ever the please make committing crimes on the internet very appealing. One need only consider how many people use the internet to illegally download movies, music, and other forms of media and how easy it is for them to get away with it to understand how dangerous it to give people with more sinister intentions the same freedom.

The issue of Net Neutrality has been given new life in the wake of recent the Wikileaks scandal.Wikileaks is a website that allows user to anonymously share inforation that they would otherwise fear going public with ("Wikileaks," 2011). This has often includes top secret government information. The Wikileaks site released thousands of US military files about the war in Afghanistan, civilian killings, and assasination units(Pilger, 2010). Because of the way the internet is designed, and the combination of the freedom of information act and the first amendment, the Wikileaks site is in a perfect position to spread any information it receives about the inner workings of any government. Whether you agree with this or not, you must acknowledge the potential dangers of allowing information to move so freely in an age where information is almost as powerful as money, and ,in the wrong hands, just as dangerous.

Organized Cyber Crime

Before the commercialization of the internet it was unheard of for over a 100 million people to be robbed, all at the same time, and by the same person. Committing a crime usually required a little more leg work, but today a person with the right skills (and low enough morals) can easily steal from an almost unlimited amount of people and be long gone before they even realized what had happened.

Because of the ability to commit crime over the internet, organized crime, that is, crime committed by a coordinated group of criminals, has also changed greatly. Many 'cyber terrorist' groups have sprung up over the years, of which the most famous would have to the hacker group known as 'Anonymous'. Anonymous has (supposedly) been responsible for many cyber crimes including but not limited to denial of service attacks against websites and corporations (Olson,2011). The most interesting thing about Anonymous is how they seem to exist and not exist at the same time; there is no way to determine who if anyone is a part of this group, yet at the same time they are still committing crimes. Leaving criminals completely faceless and unidentifiable is just one of the many ways in which the internet changed the face of crime as we know it.


This is further complicated by the fact that among the internet community, hacker groups are something of an online trend and many users claim that they are members of anonymous when many of them don't even know how to hack or have never done anything worse downloading a song illegally. This is another serious problem because it makes it even more difficult to track down the perpetrators of large scale cyber crimes. For the most part, the internet seems to be the cyber criminal's "turf", and the online community tends to act as its shield when in danger of being discovered. Below is a scene from a scene from the movie "Spartacus" that illustrates this concept:

Benefits and Drawbacks Table

Cybercrime has created jobs
Makes surfing the net potentially dangerous
Cybercrime is non-violent crime
(better to be robbed online than robbed in person)
Makes organized crime easy to commit and get away with

Harms companies by pirating their software

Creates an atmosphere of paranoia,
and a desire to restrict usage of the intern

On the following page we will discuss the various problems caused by cyber crimes ans their possible solutions.

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