Committing Crime: What is the Motive for Cybercrime

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An action or omission which constitutes an offense and is punishable by the law is called a crime. When this crime is committed in the cyber space instead of a peripheral territory, it is called a cybercrime. EC Council has defined cybercrime as, “an illegal act involving a computer, its system, or its applications. ” Kizza (1998) has argued that computer security is composed of three elements, integrity, confidentiality, and availability. A breach of any of the three elements, as defined by Kizza, thus falls under the rubric of cybercrime. Why perpetrators commit Cybercrimes?Recently, there has been much debate regarding who are the perpetrators and why do they resort to offense? Many theorists have come up with their own theories to explain. For example, Kizza (2014) has addressed intrusions in network and various other network attacks as cybercrime and believed that the criminals behind the crime commit such offense because of moral and ethical deficiency.

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On the contrary, Lessig (2006) defined crime in terms of computer rules which define what can and cannot be done. The real motives behind the crimes can better be understood in the light of some examples. ExamplesWith the advancement in technology, social media has become a popular mean of communication. There are many forums with each having something unique to offer. When it comes to Twitter, single lettered names, also called handles are rare. Naoki Hiroshima was identified to have one such rare handle i. e. @N. Naoki was once offered around fifty thousand dollars for it, but he refused to give it up. Hence, the handle remained an attractive hacking target for many attackers since its inception. An anonymous hacker compromised Naoki’s Paypal account security in Jan 2014 and from there, obtained valuable information related to his credit card. The same credit card was linked to Naoki’s GoDaddy domain, which in turn enabled the attacker to reset his domain’s log-in details. The attacker then compelled Naoki to surrender his rare twitter handle against the right to obtain his domain credentials. It was a successful and one of its kind hostage exchanges (Naoki Hiroshima, 2014).

Another development earlier this decade involved a hacking group named “Anonymous” breaking into the network of a defense contractor – ManTech, which was obliged to provide network security services to FBI over a five year contract term. The group took to Twitter to declare ManTech’s network security being compromised and threatened the authorities to publish hundreds of megabytes of security sensitive documents. The intrusion was carried out in retaliation for the arrest of some of its members (Fahmida Rashid, 2011). AnalysisKeeping the above-mentioned examples under consideration, one single motive behind the offense cannot be quoted. If we look at the first example of Naoki Hiroshima, the hacker since the beginning had been after the rare Twitter handle. Upon refusal, the hacker took extreme measures. Money was not demanded by the hacker but was rather offered. Similarly, in the second example, the crime was committed as a matter of revenge. ManTech’s information was stolen from their servers because hackers wanted to seek revenge for the arrest of some of its members. Given the veracity of the examples, we can conclude that there can be no one reason behind the offence. There can be many reasons. Curiosity. The crime can be unintentional, just to explore the viruses, malwares and other harmful softwares. Higher Ethic Motive. People would wish to embezzle the company funds to harm the boss from getting the profit.

As a Matter of Revenge. Like in case of ManTech, crime could have been committed as a matter of revenge. Ignorance. It can be done, just to harass people, without knowing the magnanimity of their actions. Others. There can be many other reasons too, like in case of Naoki Hiroshima. Conclusion“As with most types of crimes, there is no single motive that accounts for all these crimes. ” (Kirwan and Power, 2012). However, many of these behaviors actually arisefrom misjudgment of the ramifications or inappropriate rationalization, such that criminals cannot comprehend thattheir behavior is harmful or is a crime affecting others. Under such circumstance, both Kizza and Lessig, can be considered right in their own way. If the purpose behind crime is harassment, ignorance, revenge, to inflict harm on the organization or an individual, Kizza is indeed true then, that the moral and ethical deficiency leads people to commit such crimes. Similarly, if violation of certain rules and codes of computers cause harm to people and organizations, then Lessig is also right in defining crime as computer “codes” which define the dos and the don’ts. Therefore, it will be right to say that there can be no single motive behind the crimes, that can be defined.

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