Cyber crime is a fast-growing area of crime. More and more criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the Internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders, either physical or virtual, cause serious harm and pose very real threats to victims worldwide.
What is the cyber crime?
Cyber crimes are criminal offenses committed via the Internet or otherwise aided by various forms of computer technology, such as the use of online social networks to bully others or sending sexually explicit digital photos with a smart phone.
Although there is no single universal definition of cyber crime, law enforcement generally makes a distinction between two main types of Internet-related crime:
Advanced cyber crime (or high-tech crime) – sophisticated attacks against computer hardware and software;
Cyber-enabled crime – many ‘traditional’ crimes have taken a new turn with the advent of the Internet, such as crimes against children, financial crimes and even terrorism.
The changing nature of cyber crime.
New trends in cyber crime are emerging all the time, with estimated costs to the global economy running to billions of Rand's.
In the past, cyber crime was committed mainly by individuals or small groups. Today, we are seeing highly complex cyber criminal networks bring together individuals from across the globe in real time to commit crimes on an unprecedented scale.
Criminal organisations turning increasingly to the Internet to facilitate their activities and maximise their profit in the shortest time. The crimes themselves are not necessarily new – such as theft, fraud, illegal gambling, sale of fake medicines – but they are evolving in line with the opportunities presented online and therefore becoming more widespread and damaging.
What is cyber crime law?
It aims to address legal issues concerning online interactions and the Internet in the South Africa. Among the cyber crime offenses included in the bill are cyber squatting, cybersex, child pornography, identity theft, illegal access to data and libel meaning a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation.
View the full text of legislation and regulations affecting the internet in South Africa. Read More
Hacking, Piracy, and Cyber Terrorism.
Hacking is one of the most well-known types of computer crime. In this context, the term refers to the unauthorised access of another’s computer system. These intrusions are often conducted in order to launch malicious programs known as viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses that can shut down or destroy an entire computer network. Hacking is also carried out as a way to take credit card numbers, internet passwords, and other personal information. By accessing commercial databases, hackers are able to steal these types of items from millions of internet users all at once.
Internet piracy is another common offense. Piracy involves the dissemination of copyrighted material without permission of the owner. Beginning in the early 1990's, music sharing websites became extremely popular, many of them operating in violation of the law. Movies, video games, e-books, and software are now pirated over the internet as well. Estimates by the entertainment industry put the annual cost of internet piracy in the billions of Rand's, although there is evidence the scope of the economic impact has been overstated by the industry in an effort to persuade Congress to pass further regulations.
Cyber terrorism is a relatively new phenomenon. These crimes involve politically-motivated attacks to targets such as government websites or commercial networks. Such attacks are designed to be large in scale, and to produce fear and panic among the victim population. With financial markets now trading over the internet and so many other transactions taking place online, the danger of cyber terrorism has received a great deal of attention. However, actual instances of this type of crime are rare.
Identity Theft and Other Frauds.
The problem of identity theft existed prior to the development of the internet. Nevertheless, these crimes often involve the use of a computer, as offenders trick online shoppers and other web users into disclosing social security numbers, bank account and credit card information, home addresses, and more. A common scheme is known as “email phishing.” It is accomplished by sending victims an email containing a link to a website that the victims use regularly. The email asks victims to update their account information on the website, but when victims click on the link within the email, they are taken to a copycat website that secretly captures the information they enter.
Online Stalking, Bullying, and Sex Crimes
Some of the most serious computer crimes have nothing to do with making money, achieving political objectives, or showing off a hacker’s skills. Instead, they are designed to cause emotional trauma to the victim. Social media websites provide offenders with the ability to publish hurtful or embarrassing material as a way of inflicting harm on others. Once photographs or other items are posted and circulated online, they can be impossible for the victim to remove. The fallout from these kinds of activities is especially devastating for school age children, who tend to be more sensitive to social harassment.
A number of sexual offenses are also committed using computers. The trafficking of child pornography is one example. Federal and state authorities prosecute these cases vigorously, with convicted offenders often being sentenced to decades of incarceration. Law enforcement also devotes substantial resources to catching online predators who attempt to solicit underage victims for purposes of sex. These criminals are often discovered frequenting internet chat rooms, where they pose as young people in order to lure minor victims into romantic encounters.
Reasons to Hire a Computer/ Cyber crimes Lawyer
If you have been accused of a computer crime, or you have been a victim you need a attorney with technical as well as legal expertise. At Verburg Attorneys we have access to experts who can review digital evidence and testify at trial if necessary.
To learn more, contact a computer/ cyber crimes lawyer now.
To learn more, contact a computer/ cyber crimes lawyer now.