Cyber crime is defined as a crime in which a computer is the object of a crime or it is used as a tool to commit a crime. The term itself is extremely broad, as there are multiples subcategories of computer crimes and various crimes within each of them. Examples of cyber crimes that affect the personal being of a person are security breaches, fraud, digital piracy, child pornography, counterfeiting, and money laundering.
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There are also crimes that can corrupt the functioning of the Internet itself. Examples of these are hacking, spam, and cyberterrorism, which can lead to public disturbances and even death. A majority of cyber crimes are committed by Americans due to the widespread adoption of technology and the Internet.
Identity theft is one of the most popular forms of cyber crimes in which hackers are able to access addresses, Social Security numbers, birthdates, and driver’s license numbers. With these valuable pieces of personal information, cyber criminals can commit acts of fraud, such as receive medical services, apply for credit, and file taxes. The most common types of identity theft are tax ID theft, in which a thief files false tax returns using a stolen Social Security numbers, social ID theft, in which a thief uses personal information such as name and photos to create a fake account on a social media platform, medical ID theft, in which a thief steals medical information such as Medicare ID or health insurance information, and child ID theft, which is particularly difficult to detect until it is far too late. Similar to child ID theft, identity theft in general is usually so destructive due to the fact that it typically goes undetected until the damage is done and there isn’t anything left to do. These types of criminals mostly leave you in financial difficulties such as denied loans, credit collections, mystery bills, and large sums of money disappearing from bank accounts. In order to report identity theft, the easiest way to do so is online at identitytheft.org or by calling 1-877-438-4338.
Digital piracy is the distribution of copyrighted material in an illegal manner. For example, downloading a song, movie, electronic book, or software illegally is considered digital piracy, despite the fact that it seems like almost everyone does it in this day and age. In fact, the act of someone transferring files from their home computers to their work computers used to be considered digital piracy in earlier times. Media can be attained multiple ways, but most of it can be found through websites containing a large amount of pirated material. According to CNN, approximately 90% of all downloaded music is downloaded illegally, which is considered digital piracy. This statistic proves that it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to halt this issue. If there are so many culprits, most of them ordinary people, then it is especially hard to squash each and every one of them. Though there have been many legal actions taken against digital piracy (Jammie Thomas Rasset was fined one and a half million dollars for illegally downloading and sharing twenty-four songs in 2009. It was eventually reduced to $54,000, which still is a large sum of money to pay for such a crime.), many people argue that to call the action a crime is a crime within itself. A great deal of people compare it to worse crimes that could be committed on the internet and rebuttal with the fact that they should not be punished as severely in comparison. Most people who commit the crime of digital piracy typically think that the artists and or movies they are stealing material from are making enough money and that one illegal download wouldn’t affect them severely. However, when over a million people have the same train of thought and end up committing the same crime, it adds up and has turns into the widespread problem that it is now.
Cyberbullying is the typical definition of bullying, including spreading rumors, harassment, and impersonation, but the bully uses a computer or any form of technology to do such things, including posting embarrassing and or image altering photos of another person and sending offensive and hurtful messages. This form of cyber crime can range from mild to severe effects. A study conducted in 2006 showed that one in three teenagers are affected by cyberbullying and one in six preteenagers are affected by cyberbullying. Those who are inclined to bully can easily do so through cyberbullying, as it is through a screen, where identity and personal information can be concealed from their victim. As technology has become more advanced, the rate of cyberbullying has increased right along with it. Due to the fact that cyberbullying differs from regular bullying in terms of it not being physical and not being said in person, some people do not take it as seriously at they would regular bullying. However, cyberbullying should be taken extremely seriously, as it has the same detrimental effects as any type of physical harassment. In contrast to the popular expression, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, words can hurt very much. The fact that someone would take the time and energy to be so hurtful towards another person could be scathing to a teenager’s (used as an example due to such a high statistic of being affected) self confidence and mental health. Insults and verbal harassment, which essentially is what cyberbullying is, can really make a person question their self worth, as it is human nature to tend to value the opinions of others before valuing our own. People in this world can be very cruel, and hiding behind a screen just proves them to be nothing but an insecure coward. In 2015, Amanda Todd committed suicide after being bullied for years on end. She passed away at the mere age of 15. That one incident in itself proves the severity and validity of cyberbullying and quite frankly it is sad that it takes the tragic passing of a young child to open the eyes of some people.
As proven in the previous paragraphs, cyber crime is very serious and should not be taken lightly under any circumstances. It is extremely widespread and difficult to target each and every branch of the problem, but many people and groups of people have done their best to take action against it. Those who have been a victim of identity theft have proceeded to report their thieves on various platforms and some have even taken their cases to court. Digital piracy is very hard to stop, especially since various everyday people commit the crime daily. However, there are websites to report this crime to and even lawsuits that can be filed. In terms of cyberbullying, there can multiple ways to go about solving this massive issue. Telling an adult or even just an authority figure is always the first step. Then the bully should be blocked, but it is always wise to have proof of the bullying in case it is required. The internet was created to do great things, and indeed it has, however it has its negative effects, such as cyber crimes. It is simply up to the user if the risk is worth it.
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