A fast-growing area of crime – cybercrime

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Cyber-crime is a fast-growing area of crime, with more criminals exploiting the convenience, speed and anonymity of the Internet in committing different criminal activities without either physical or virtual boarders, and causing harm and significant threats to small businesses, corporations and government agencies.

In recent times, our society is increasingly relying on the internet and other information technology tools to engage in personal communication and conduct business activities among other several benefits. While these developments allow for enormous gain in productivity, Crime has remained elusive and ever strives to disguise in the face of development and it is certain that a nation with high crime incidence cannot grow or develop because crime is the direct opposite of development, which leaves a negative social and economic consequence. In the past, cyber-crimes were mostly committed by individuals or small groups. Today, highly complex cybercriminal networks bring together individuals from across the globe in real time to commit crimes in an unprecedented scale.

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Cybercrimes are growing and evolving crime that is taking place all over the world, it is described as new ways of committing familiar crimes of different kinds involving; economic crime, intellectual property infringement, identity theft and privacy violation. The common feature in cyber-crime is the use of information technology in its commission. This research analyses the effect of cyber-crime incidents in Nigeria.

Keywords/Phrases: Cyber- crime, Anonymity, Criminal activities, Identity theft, Privacy violation, Information technology.

INTRODUCTION

Information technology can be referred to as the study, design, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems. The internet technology has changed the way people think about the world. It has enhanced communication, thereby promoting global businesses. With the advancement of technology, there has also been an increased growth in computer-based crimes resulting from the action of fraudsters.

Cybercrime is a new trend that is gradually growing as the internet continues to penetrate every sector of our society and no one can predict its future. Cyber-crimes are cyber enabled crimes which could be financial crimes, stolen identity, privacy violation and advanced high- tech crimes which are usually sophisticated attacks against computer software and hardware. Cyber related crime is on the increase as the internet has become vital to commerce, governance and entertainment. With the adoption of internet in the Nigeria, occurrences and effects of cybercrime were felt and continue to be felt on a large scale. The infrastructure used by cyber criminals are computers, communications and network technologies.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

The purpose of this research is to examines the negative effects of the technological advancements, focusing on the effect Cyber-Crime Incidents on Information Technology and Business in Nigeria. Cybercrime manifest in various ways such as loss of life, loss of dignity and loss of employment. The impact of cybercrime is not only limited to the victim; but also affect the society. The consequences of cybercrime on the economy to include loss of revenue, wasted time, damaged the reputation and reduced productivity among others. This research would also examine cyber related incidents with the intent of mitigating the risk associated with cyber related activities for individuals, businesses and government.

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Cybercrime has been an eluding factor in the cyberspace transactions in Nigeria, where cybercrimes and computer related crimes are rampant. The integration of computer technology as a global issue, the economy of most nations in the world is accessible using Information communication and technology and at stake. Cyber-crime incidents are on the increase globally as hackers continually refine their skills while consumers remain complacent, there is therefore a need to educate users of the cyber space of the inherent dangers and how they can protect themselves

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

The concept of cybercrime is historical. It was revealed that the first published report of cybercrime occurred on the mainframe computer in the 1960s. Cybercrime was defined as a type of crime committed by criminals who make use of a computer as a tool and the internet as a connection in order to reach a variety of objectives such as illegal downloading of music files and films, piracy, spam mailing and the likes. Cybercrime evolves from the wrong application or abuse of internet services (Maitanmi, 2013).

According to (Lakshmi, 2015) as at 2003, the United States and South-Korea have the highest cyber-attacks of 35.4% and 12.8% respectively. With the population of Nigeria placed at 160 million from the last census carried out in 2006, a recent statistic revealed that about 28.9% have access to the internet (Hassan, 2012). It is proven that 39.6% African users of internet are actually Nigerian, hence, the high increase in the rate of internet crime in Nigeria (Hassan, 2012). Presently, cybercrimes are performed by people of all ages ranging from young to old, but in most instances the young. Presently, cybercrimes are performed by people of all ages ranging from young to old, but in most instances the young.

Cyber- crime according to Saini et al (2012) is said to be an act committed or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it and for which punishment is imposed upon the conviction of the crime. Cyber- crime is also criminal activity directly related to the use of computers, specifically illegal trespass into computer system or database of someone else, manipulation or and theft of stored and on-line data and the sabotage of data, computer and network equipment (Saini, et al., 2012).

According to Saini, et al., (2012), cyber sciences ensures a collection of computing-based disciplines that involves technology, people, and processes aligned in a way that enables assured operations in the presence of risks and adversaries. It involves creating, operating, analyzing, and testing of secured computer systems and the study of how to employ operations, reasonable risk taking, and risk mitigations.
The internet has helped to improve the performance factor, the term Internet is defined as the collection of computers that provides a network of electronic connections between different computers. There are lots of computers connected to the internet. With the benefits of the use of Internet comes with cyber-crime which is associated with the use of the internet (Saini, Rao, & Panda, 2012).

CAUSES OF CYBERCRIMES IN NIGERIA

According to Hassan, 2012. The following are some of the causes of cybercrime in Nigeria. High unemployment rate is one of the major causes of Cybercrime in Nigeria. Statistics has shown that over 20 million graduates in the country do not have gainful employment. This has automatically increased the rate at which they take part in criminal activities for their survival. b. Quest for Wealth is another cause of cybercrime in Nigeria. Youths of nowadays are very greedy, they are not ready to start small hence they strive to level up with their rich counterparts by engaging in cybercrimes. c. harsh economic conditions, and poor educational system. d. Lack of strong Cyber Crime Laws also encourages the perpetrators to commit more crime knowing that they can always go scot free. e. Incompetent security on personal computers. Some personal computers do not have proper or competent security controls, it is prone to criminal activities hence the information on it can be stolen. Therefore, government must ensure that cybercrime laws are formulated and strictly adhered to such laws so that criminals will not go unpunished and individuals should observe simple rules of safeguarding the computer system by installing antivirus protection and update it often.

CYBERCRIMES IN THE BANKING SECTOR:

In Nigeria, the banking sector depend mainly on the internet for business survival. Presently, banks all over the world are taking advantage and incorporating opportunities brought about by e-banking which is believed to have started in the early 1980’s (Shandilya, 2011). As this sector build stronger security level, these fraudsters also increase their strength and tactics. Several profitable attacks have been launched and unfortunately, many have succeeded. In general, cybercriminals execute fraudulent activities with the ultimate goal of accessing a user’s bank account to either steal or/and transfer funds to another bank account without legal authorization. However, there are cases of disgruntled employees causing physical damage to their personal computers, with the aim to get back at their superiors and organization, the intention of cybercriminals is to cause damage to the reputation of the bank by denying service to users and sabotaging data in computer networks of organizations (Parthiban, 2014).

Bank Verification Number (BVN) Scams: The BVN is a biometric identification system, which consists of an 11-digit number that acts as a universal ID across all the banks in Nigeria. BVN was implemented in 2015 by the Central Bank of Nigeria. It was introduced to link various accounts to the owner thereby ensuring that fraudulent activities are reduced. For fraudsters, opportunities to extort money and to carry out other fraudulent activities arose from the implementation of the BVN. It was discovered that fake and unauthorized text messages and phone calls were sent to many users demanding for personal information such as BVN numbers and account details. In addition, phishing sites were created to acquire such information for insalubrious activities on the bank account.

Phishing: Phishing is simply the theft of an identity. It involves stealing personal information from unsuspecting users and it is also an act of fraud against the authentic, authorized businesses and financial institutions that are victimized (Wada, 2014).

Theft of Bank Cards: The theft of bank cards has evolved from the physical theft of the card to simply the theft of the numbers. Today, bank card hackers do not need to be in the same country to steal other people’s identities. Fraudsters make use of hidden cameras to record ATM card pins and numbers in distinct places such as an eatery payment using POS, or at the ATM. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a method known as ATM skimming can be used and it involves placing an electronic device on an ATM that scoops information from a bank card’s magnetic strip whenever a customer uses the machine (FBI, 2011). Also, another cybercrime carried out via this means in Nigeria includes internet order fraud. Internet order frauds involves fraudster inputting stolen cards numbers on online commercial sites to order goods. Credit card numbers or ATM numbers can be stolen by hackers when users type the credit card number into the Internet page of the seller for online transaction. Different applications can be used to retrieve this information such as key loggers at cybercaf?©s or cloned websites.

Cyber-theft / Banking Fraud: Hackers target the vulnerabilities in the security of various bank systems and transfer money from innumerable accounts to theirs. Most cybercriminals transfer small amounts like 5 naira which are sometimes ignored without raising questions with assumption that it was either SMS or ATM withdrawal charges. Doing this for over a million accounts enriches most fraudsters.

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