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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Essay on Cybercrime as Victimless Crime? Is Cybercrime a Harmless Crime?

Cybercrime is one of the new species of white-collar crime that poses serious challenge to the law enforcement agencies.  Richard Johnston, in his article entitled “The Battle against White-Collar Crimes,” emphasized the extent of the challenge our criminal justice system is facing insofar as the problem of cybercrime is concerned.  Studies show that one in three American households has been a victim of white-collar crime, yet just 41% actually report it. (Richard Johnston, 2002, p. 1)  This just shows that these kinds of crime are happening in our country yet very few are being prosecuted, convicted and punished for these crimes. 

            Since cybercrime is a relatively new term, majority of the American public still are unaware of the extent of the damage it can cause to any person.  The public are still unaware that of the extent and magnitude of the damage it can cause to the United States economy.  A cause of concern about cybercrime is that this crime which appears to be harmless is now considered as a more profitable business activity compared to illegal drug trafficking.  According to Valerie McNiven, an advisor to the US government on cybercrime, in 2004 alone proceeds from cybercrime reached $105 Billion, an amount greater than the proceeds from the sale of illegal drugs (John Leyden, 2005, p.1).

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            Worth considering also is the fact that a person’s identity is stolen every three seconds.   According to research a total of 8.4 Million Americans were victimized by identity theft in 2007 alone “Identity Theft Statistics”, 2009, p.2).  The cost for the consumers who have been victimized by identity has also reached $49.3 Billion in 2007 alone.  Consequently, identity theft through the use of Internet is now considered as the fastest growing crime in the United States.

            Despite the damage it may cause, it appears that the public are still not doing anything to protect themselves against cyber crime.  While awareness about the damage of compute viruses is high, the awareness about the dangers of cybercrime is still low.  This is the result of the study conducted by Symantec Corporation.  According to Symantec Corp, only 19.5% of consumers and 48.9% of tech professionals use a personal firewall on their PC.  Moreover, the same survey shows that 87.1% of consumers and 94.7% of technology professionals use anti-virus software to protect their computer against damaging viruses.  The conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that compared to awareness of computer viruses, awareness of cybercrime is still low.  

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