Just as every cloud has a silver lining, every rose has its thorns. This means that everything positive has a few downsides with which we must deal. This is especially true in the case of the Internet. because its benefits have been off the scale. The information age has made it possible for people to learn virtually anything from the comfort of their homes. People can also communicate with each other far easier than ever before with emails and text messages. However, everything associated with the Internet hasn’t been positive, enter Cybercrime. 

Take the Bad With the Good

The negative aspects of the Internet are heavily outweighed by the benefits. However, people still need to be aware of the dangers associated with using the Internet and the World Wide Web in general. These two entities are very similar, but there are differences. Basically, the Internet is an aspect of the World Wide Web. However, credit card machines and even ATMs are also connected to the Web. All the connectivity leaves people vulnerable to a number of serious threats that have become more and more common. Cybercrime is one of the greatest threats to Western Civilization because it gives thieves the ability to target so many different people.

What is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime definition is any crime committed over the Internet or with a computer. This includes hacking into secure sites and even online bullying in some cases. However, people fear this type of crime less than they fear traditional crime. Unfortunately, this modern crime is actually far more dangerous because it’s virtually impossible to see it coming.

Most people would be terrified if they were in a bank when an armed robber entered. However, a traditional bank robber is far less dangerous than a criminal who can break into a dozen different accounts via a computer. All of the world’s banks and financial institutions are protected by cutting-edge cyber security, but this technology can only slow a determined hacker. The problem with Internet security is the fact that it was all invented by people. Therefore, other people will always be able to find ways to bypass it.

Most people have no idea how easy it is for cyber thieves to compromise their accounts and passwords. This is substantially easier when people use public WiFi hotspots which make them particularly vulnerable. This problem has been described as the greatest challenge facing western civilization. The European Union has even assembled a special commission to help combat the growing number of cybercrime cases.

One of the issues law enforcement faces when attempting to combat the problem is the laws in place to protect people’s privacy. These laws are actually designed to detour the criminals, but the crooks naturally ignore the laws. Europol is taking steps to get these laws relaxed so law enforcement will have more freedom to pursue the hackers who threaten everyone who uses the Internet. Even though Europe has already opened the Cyber Crime Center, many people feel as though it’s a little too late. More than 750 million Euros are already annually stolen from the union alone, and Europe isn’t the only place vulnerable to cybercrime.

Cybercrime on the Rise

It’s difficult to read the newspaper without seeing new cybercrime articles. One of the most disturbing was the is that of the Heart Bleed Bug. It’s scary to think that a single virus could compromise virtually the entire internet, but that’s exactly what this devious bug has done. The problem is, that most Internet sites utilize a single type of security.

The Transport Layer Security protocol was once thought of as being virtually impenetrable until the Heart Bleed Bug was introduced in April 2014. It’s like a really safe front door that can turn away virtually any threat. Of course, everyone would want that door for their own homes. However, the door also uses a single type of key. Therefore, the door became completely obsolete when someone forged a single key.

This complex issue was caused by a simple buffer over-read, which allows thieves to see far more information than they should. The worst thing about the cybercrime virus is the fact that it’s impossible to tell how many more cybercrime stories will emerge in the future because thieves will wait months or even years before selling the information of an unsuspecting victim.

Different Types of Cybercrime

While most people define cybercrime as hacking into something secure, it also refers to the crime of Internet child pornography. This is one of the more disturbing aspects of cybercrime because the victims are so young and innocent. This crime is also very disturbing because even hardened criminals with no morals find it reprehensible. However, the disgusting nature of child pornography hasn’t prevented the crime from spiralling out of control.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) saw a 5,000% increase in the cases they handled from 2007 to 2013. These cybercrime statistics are by far the most disturbing because nearly 1/5 of all offenders had pictures of victims younger than three years old. Nearly 40% of these loathsome individuals had pictures of children younger than six. This is especially disturbing, because the sick individuals may feel inclined to act out their disgusting fantasies in reality. All too often, child molesters will abduct a child and molest them. These perverts often murder their young victims in an attempt to cover their tracks.

Crime is increasing in all modern countries, especially the US. The number of cases handled has nearly doubled in the past two decades, and the increased access to the Internet is at least partly responsible. These sick individuals once had to hold secret meetings and cover their tracks at every turn. One of these monsters might only be able to find new pictures a few times a year in the mid-nineties. However, the Internet has given them an almost unlimited supply.

Seeing such astounding child pornography statistics really drives home the importance of stomping out cybercrime for good. It’s awful that a person can see his or her life savings vanish overnight, but lost money can be recouped. When children lose their innocence to a perverted monster, the damage is irreversible.

The History of Cybercrime

While cybercrime statistics are directly related to the digital revolution, they have been going on before the Internet became so popular. Thieves have been using high-tech methods of stealing people’s information since the first ATM was introduced. back in those days, thieves would go as far as to put a fake ATM machine somewhere for the sole purpose of stealing people’s information.

There are also devices that can be attached to a traditional ATM to allow cyber thieves to steal people’s information. However, the man credited with committing the first-ever cybercrime is John Draper. This gentleman discovered that the free whistle in the Cap n, Crunch cereal box could duplicate the proper tone to make free payphone calls. The first-ever major cybercrime occurred in 1971 when a teller for the Dime Savings Bank embezzled a cool $2 million.

Cybercrime represents an ongoing struggle between software developers and hackers. The developers will continue to create new and more innovative ways of stopping thieves, and the thieves will continue to produce superbugs like Heart Bleed. It’s an ever-changing arms race, and those of us caught in the middle have to be vigilant by continuously changing our passwords and keeping a close watch over our finances.

Identity theft is one of the more sinister forms of cybercrime, and someone can see entire life savings vanish overnight. Fortunately, there are security programs like LifeLock that can help to keep the masses more secure. However, it may only be a matter of time before a determined thief bypasses even this checkpoint.