White collar crime can be defined as a broad range of crimes often committed through deceit and whose main motive is financial gain (Weisburd & Waring, 2001). The most common crimes in this category are the different forms of money laundering, tax evasion, embezzlement, or fraud. Many frauds and scams include securities and Ponzi schemes such as insider trading. Another common type of white collar crime involves the hacking of databases for defrauding companies, especially financial institutions, and is broadly categorized as cybercrime (Weisburd et al., 2001).
Define and characterize the specific white-collar crime type. Be sure to address the methods of likely crimes associated with the offense.
The term crime is described as an act that is unlawful and is punishable by a state (Dervan & Podgor, 2016). However, cybercrime is not linked to a law that is enforced. The term cyber is a prefix that describes a person, idea, or thing as part of the information and computer age. It involves computer networks and computers; hence, cybercrime encompasses any criminal act involving computers and computer networks (Sukhai, 2004). Cybercrime includes a number of crimes, such as identity theft, financial crimes, fraud, selling of contraband items, pornography, and illegal download of files, among others.
According to Gordon and Ford (2006), financial crimes include stealing money from financial institutions and credit card fraud. Hackers often access financial institutions’ databases and alter their customer details, re-direct funds to other deposits, or delete critical banking information for their own gain. Credit cards are hacked, and criminals use the information to run the cards into debt at the expense of the owner. Drug trafficking through the internet involves selling narcotics using email encrypting technologies. Buyers and sellers arrange the pick-up and drop-off points using encrypted emails (Shinder & Cross, 2008). Similar to this type of crime are email spoofing and phishing. Email spoofing involves sending an email to an unsuspecting person but making it appear that another has sent the email (Nagpal, 2008). For example, a person may get an email that appears to originate from PayPal requesting that the recipient should change their password. The criminal that sends the spoofed email will then hack into the victims’ password and log-in details and access their funds. Lastly, cyberterrorism is where terrorist acts are committed within cyberspace (Janczewski, 2007). Funding terrorist acts via online payment pay methods are considered to be part of cyber terrorism. Further, cyber terrorists send information that is broadcasted via the internet about planned attacks. They also coerce or threaten a government, organization, or individual by attacking them through networks or computers for their social, political, or personal benefits.
Detail a contemporary case that is the best example of this crime type. Be sure to detail the offending activities. The case can be a national case identified through media outlets or a local case that is not as well known.
In 2017, cybersecurity researchers raised the alarm about Russian hackers’ infiltration and probing of US power companies (Atherton, 2018). Evidence showed that hackers had direct access to the control systems of an American utility company. Before the US attack, the Russian cyber attackers had managed to cause two large-scale blackouts in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016 (Zinets, 2016). The group uses generic hacking techniques and tools that are created by other parties, making it difficult for the hackers to be tracked and identified. The government-backed hackers have not managed to access the command center but instead have attacked the smaller subcontracted utility firms causing them to shut down and cause blackouts (Atherton, 2018).
The hackers used tightly targeted attacks to compromise the suppliers’ corporate networks. They used emails sent to senior staff or enticed them to visit hacked or spoofed social media sites. Once the hackers gained access, they undertook detailed reconnaissance to familiarize them with how the power systems and plants worked (Kelley, 2018). The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Agency were quick to publicly admit that the attacks were ongoing (even as late as November of 2018) and encouraged the companies that were vulnerable to increase their cybersecurity (Kelley, 2018).
Determine the deficiencies and needs for proper handling based on current research in the area, and then identify plausible resolutions of such cases. What has research told you about these types of cases?
One challenge facing combating cybercrime is its global nature; the victims and perpetrators could be located in two different areas (Choo, 2011). Every year, Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements are increased, and various jurisdictions collaborate to solve crimes. Verizon (2018) reports on data breach investigations indicating that the crime has reduced over the years to a significant level. However, a decline in cybercrime based on the arrests recorded is not reflective of the fact that there was an increase in attempts to breach data, although the amount of data that actually was breached had declined. Also, after a major arrest or investigation, organizations in cybercrime quickly change their tactics to avoid detection (Verizon, 2018). There is currently no way of stopping hackers, even as they show no signs of abating.
Grabosky et al. (2004) assert that law enforcement officials do not have the necessary technical resources, training, workforce, and political support to end the crimes. Even when cyber crimes are successfully prosecuted, the convicts often do not serve the maximum sentence, which does not deter other people from committing crimes of similar nature (Lu et al., 2010). In some cases, the convicts enter a plea bargain with the prosecutors, often involving the latter to solve other cases as witnesses or informants. This, too, weakens the deterrent effect that sentencing for cybercrimes is intended to have.
The number of computer intrusions that occur in a day is significantly large to the extent that it overwhelms law enforcement investigations (Hinduja, 2004). The prevalence of cybercrime is propelled by the lucrativeness of the business as criminals hack into systems to steal debit and credit card information (Everett, 2009). In other incidences, hackers break into government and corporate systems to expose security vulnerabilities, deface websites, protest against public policies, or flex their tech prowess.
Identify and offer recommendations to accomplish this endeavor. How might you use the methodology to determine if such recommendations are working?
For law enforcement to have an impact in curtailing cybercrime, public awareness of hacking as a real crime should be launched. One of the reasons that the judicial system extends lenient sentences on hackers is that most hackers are young, and the former may get a backlash from the public for sending the young criminals to federal prison for five years. The public fails to see the severity of cybercrimes (Kappeler & Potter, 2017).
Hackers do not perceive their actions as wrong (Young et al., 2007). Parents should educate their children on the basics of cybercrime, such as downloading music illegally. When a child does not know that such an act is criminal, such a child will most likely not perceive accessing credit card information as illegal as well. A hacker will most likely never walk into a bank to rob it but will not hesitate to hack into a financial organization’s database. The thin line between robbery and hacking is blurred by technology (Kirwan, 2017). That said, ethical computer behavior should be taught as early as elementary school, all through to middle and high school (Igwe & Ibegwam, 2014). Relying solely on the legal system and law enforcement will never be effective.
Implementation of Recommendations
Law enforcement agencies should work in unison to investigate, apprehend, and prosecute those found culpable of cybercrime. Technical experts should be recruited and trained as a matter of priority. Standardized methods should be implemented, and sharing best tools and practices in cyber response should be shared widely. Criminal investigators and experts in network securities who have an in-depth understanding of malicious technology, as well as specific vulnerabilities that are targeted, should respond effectively and investigate cyber crimes.
The public school curriculum should be used as a channel to create awareness of the criminal nature of hacking. The national education planners should include ethical computer behavior as a mandatory part of the curriculum right from elementary to high school. A bill that will be passed into law should be introduced, making mandatory education in the aforementioned area possible. By so doing, the burden of abating cybercrime will be spread over the current and future generations rather than relying on law enforcement alone.
Lastly, the judicial system should ignore the public backlash when considering the sentencing of prosecuted hackers. The court system should impose full sentences on criminals found guilty of cybercrime, their history or lack of crime, notwithstanding their age. If a person is old enough to knowingly commit a crime, then such a person should be ready to serve a full sentence term behind prison bars willingly. Leniency should not be extended to such criminals. By so doing, any person contemplating engagement in cybercrimes will be deterred from doing so when they are aware of the weight and strictness of the sentencing and prison term implications.
A decline in the frequency of cybercrime attempts can only measure the effectiveness of these measures. Although these measures may not completely eradicate cybercrime, they will go a long way in creating awareness of its seriousness, in addition to raising a generation that is morally conscious enough not to engage in cybercrime and in discouraging youth from getting booked in the prison system.
In conclusion, cybercrime is a war that may never end; the best that can be done is to minimize its effects and reduce the chances of tolerating and encouraging it. An educated society is an empowered people. Cybercrime awareness is the best option to curtail its frequency and effects on individuals, governments, and organizations.
Atherton, K.(2018). It’s not just elections: Russia hacked the US electric grid. https://www.vox.com/world/2018/3/28/17170612/russia-hacking-us-power-grid-nuclear-plants
Dervan, L. E., & Podgor, E. S. (2015). White-Collar Crime: Still Hazy after all These Years. Ga. L. Rev., 50, 709.
Everett, C. (2009). The lucrative world of cyber-espionage. Computer Fraud & Security, 2009(7), 5-7.
Gordon, S., & Ford, R. (2006). On the definition and classification of cybercrime. Journal in Computer Virology, 2(1), 13-20.
Grabosky, P., Russell G.. Smith, & Urbas, G. (2004). Cyber Criminals on Trial. Cambridge University Press.
Hinduja, S. (2004). Perceptions of local and state law enforcement concerning the role of computer crime investigative teams. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 27(3), 341-357.
Igwe, K. N., & Ibegwam, A. (2014). Imperative of Cyber Ethics Education to Cyber Crimes Prevention and Cyber Security in Nigeria. International Journal of ICT and Management, 2(2), 102-113.
Janczewski, L. (Ed.). (2007). Cyber warfare and cyber terrorism. IGI Global.
Kappeler, V. E., & Potter, G. W. (2017). The mythology of crime and criminal justice. Waveland Press.
Kelley, T. (2018). Russian hackers penetrate US power stations. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44937787
Kirwan, D. (2017). Cybercrime: An Investigation of the Attitudes and Environmental Factors that Make People more Willing to Participate in Online crime.
Lu, H., Liang, B., & Taylor, M. (2010). A comparative analysis of cybercrimes and governmental law enforcement in China and the United States. Asian journal of criminology, 5(2), 123-135.
Nagpal, R. (2008). Evolution of Cyber Crimes. Asian School of Cyber laws, 2.
Shinder, D. L., & Cross, M. (2008). Scene of the Cybercrime. Elsevier.
Sukhai, N. B. (2004, October). Hacking and cybercrime. In Proceedings of the 1st annual conference on Information security curriculum development (pp. 128-132). ACM.
Verizon (2018). 2018 Data breach investigations report. http://www.documentwereld.nl/files/2018/Verizon-DBIR_2018-Main_report.pdf
Weisburd, D., Waring, E., & Chayet, E. F. (2001). White-collar crime and criminal careers. Cambridge University Press.
Zinets, N. (2016). Ukraine hit by 6,500 hack attacks, sees Russian ‘cyberwar’ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-cyber/ukraine-hit-by-6500-hack-attacks-sees-russian-cyberwar-idUSKBN14I1QC
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Week 1 – Assignment 1: Define and Explain a Specific White-Collar Crime and Write an Informative Paper
In this contemporary society, people are confronted with a variety of crime types. White collar crime is a significant, yet underestimated, area of crime. In many cases, professionals fail to examine the crime type on a macro view. In other ways, they fail to recognize the intricacies of specific white-collar crime types. In this week’s assignment, you will focus on a specific variety of white-collar crime.
As a corporate investigator, you are tasked with detailing a specific white-collar crime of your choice. The goal of this examination is to provide good detail for stakeholders in regard to the crime type and to highlight specific cases and needs from a law and policy perspective in a white paper. Using what resources are available to you, detail a specific white-collar crime type and detail the current landscape of this criminal activity.
Be sure to address the following:
- Define and characterize the specific white-collar crime type. Be sure to address the methods of likely crimes associated with the offense.
- Detail a contemporary case that is the best example of this crime type. Be sure to detail the offending activities. The case can be a national case identified through media outlets or a local case that is not as well known.
- Determine the deficiencies and needs for proper handling based on current research in the area, and then identify plausible resolutions of such cases. What has research told you about these types of cases?
- Identify and offer recommendations to accomplish this endeavor. How might you use the methodology to determine if such recommendations are working?
Support your paper with a minimum of five scholarly resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.
Length: 5-7 pages, not including title and reference pages
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