Obstacles in the Fight against Cybercrime (Essay Sample)
A description of a current issue In criminal justice. Arguments and counter-arguments are to be presented to justify the selected issue. The topic selected is the challenges in fighting cybercrime. The reasons why cybercrime is a challebge are otlined and any opposing views are countered. all arguments are backed by scholarly evdence from current sources.source..
Obstacles in the Fight against Cybercrime
Obstacles in the Fight against Cybercrime
The criminal justice systems across the world are faced with an increasingly complex challenge of cybercrime. The current debate on law versus cybercrime seeks to address some of the challenges experienced by the legal systems in controlling cybercrime. Modern society is built around computers and other electronic gadgets that dictate how people communicate and interact, as well as do business. Therefore, more people are becoming exposed to a world of cyberspace where new threats are emerging every day. Additionally, cyberspace has proven to be extremely volatile where advances in technology are taking place rapidly, which keeps changing the nature and severity of cybercrimes. The criminal justice system will likely keep struggling against the criminals, who always seem to be out of reach of most offenders. The focus of this paper will be to illustrate and present evidence of the struggle between law enforcers and cybercriminals and attempt to identify where the battle can be won.
To fully understand the struggle in the fight against cybercrime, it is important to understand what the construct of cybercrime and such related concepts as cyberspace means. The term cyberspace can be defined as a collection of computing devices networked together with other devices and networks (Rajput, 2018). In other words, cyberspace is a virtual platform comprising interconnected digital devices. The definition of cyberspace can help understand what cybercrime entails, in this case, criminal activities involving the abuse of cyberspace. Some are traditional crimes, including extortion, theft, and fraud, which are conducted in cyberspace. Others are new and emerging typologies of criminal activity that take advantage of the vulnerabilities within the networked devices. For instance, such acts as hacking, denial of service attacks, and malware are all criminal activities where computers are used as the primary means of committing offenses.
Several arguments can be presented showing why law enforcement will continue to struggle against cybercrime. The first concerns the rapid changes in the technological environment, which also serves to constantly transform the behavior of criminals. According to Wall (2017), cybercrime has evolved from cyberpunk fantasies to matters of national security and international policy in a quarter-century. Therefore, cybercrime is transformational as opposed to definitional and the continuing developments will redefine the future of both cybercrime and criminal justice approaches to the problem. The private sector is usually at the fore in almost every technological innovation. The government agencies seem to always try to catch up with the private individuals, which means that criminals will keep causing problems that law enforcement is not aware of. In many major attacks on corporate and government infrastructure, the evens are known after they have taken place, which means that any prevention strategies are ineffective. Unless law enforcement can get ahead of the criminals, the prevention tactics will fail to yield positive results.
A second argument is that the criminal justice system lacks adequate support from other institutions. Most importantly, the education sector has a critical role to play in the fight against cybercrime because that is where the technologies are taught and learned. Therefore, it can be argued that the education sector also holds the key to educating the criminal justice personnel on the best approaches to handle this problem. Nodeland, Belshaw, and Saber (2019) find that responses to cybersecurity incidents are increasingly dependent on the criminal justice practitioners and that most universities are lagging in training and educational opportunities for learners hoping to enter the criminal justice institutions. Technological developments are often spearheaded by experts in the field who have gained their education and training from colleges and universities. The same can be said regarding cybercriminals, who can be classified as rogue experts seeking to exploit emerging vulnerabilities. The criminal justice system needs to be updated on new developments and emerging vulnerabilities but this is an endeavor that cannot be achieved without the education sector playing its role.
An opposing argument can be put forward highlighting the developments taking place regarding cybercrime research. After the recognition of the problem, scholarly attention on the subject has been stepped up, which could also help law enforcement update their approaches accordingly. Cybercrime courses in law enforcement colleges and institutions are an indication that the criminal justice system seeks to become more proactive and build on the capacity to operate on the same levels as the potential cybercriminals (Bossler & Berenblum, 2019). However, until irrefutable evidence is presented showing that law enforcement can detect cyber threats and act on them before they take place, the position that the criminal justice system will keep struggling is maintained. In essence, the governments may have dedicated significant resources towards fighting cybercrime but the innovations taking place coupled with the emergence of new vulnerabilities makes cyberspace even more insecure. Therefore, the amount of research available is not adequate to support the argument that the education sector has played its role. On the contrary, it can be seen that independent scholars have taken the subject more seriously than higher education institutions.
Society is becoming more frustrated by the progress of the criminal justice system in addressing cybercrime. These frustrations are made apparent by the emerging trend of vigilantism as explained by Silva (2018). Vigilantism may appear as an alternative measure to the efforts of the criminal justice system. In all cases, vigilantes believe they can fight crime better than law enforcers either because they have a better understanding of the criminal world or because law enforcement seems ineffective. In the case of cybercrime, many people have fallen prey to criminals who defraud and steal from them. The sentiments among vigilantes can be understandable, especially if they emanate from bitter experiences in the past. However, Silva (2018) explains that vigilantes usually cause a loss of digital evidence, which tends to obstruct the efforts of law enforcers. Vigilantes may believe themselves to fight crime but they would rather not get caught doing so. The fact that they eliminate any digital traces leading to them means that they also eliminate traces leading to the criminal activities of the suspects. Therefore, it is apparent that the criminal justice system is not in control.
One of the most debatable arguments is that the human factor is the weakest link in the fight against cybercrime. The technological developments taking place do not necessarily mean that the general public is fully literate in the new technologies. People often find new applications, software, and hardware to use but remain relatively ignorant regarding the vulnerabilities to which they are exposed. According to Ani, He, and Tiwari (2018), a technology is only as vulnerable and weak as the people that operate or develop it. Such an argument is validated by the fact that many vulnerabilities have been the result of human error. Such an observation can be made from the numerous news regarding breaches. For example, BusinessWire (2021) finds that 94% of businesses have witnessed a data breach involving insiders in the last 12 months. Other examples include over 500,000 Zoom teleconferencing accounts put on sale on the dark web on April 14, 2020 (Sobers, 2021). Additionally, a customer support database holding approximately 280 million customer records from Microsoft was left unprotected on January 22, 2020 (Sobers, 2021). Therefore, the human factor is indeed the weakest link in cybercrime.
Some people have come out to protect the human factor claiming that it has unjustifiably become a cliché. There might be some truth in such a position, especially considering that the term 'human' refers to the users of the technology. Other links to the technology include the software and hardware, as well as the networks involved in the Internet of Things (IoT). The security mechanisms are designed to protect the assets and data of the organizations, which means that the designers and engineers should take into consideration the role of the human factor. However, computers and computing are also broken, an argument supported by M
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