Crime and Victimization in Cyberspace: A Socio-Criminological Approach to Cybercrime

Crime and Victimization in Cyberspace: A Socio-Criminological Approach to Cybercrime

Maurizio Tonellotto (University of Bologna, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1286-9.ch014
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The development of information technologies in recent years has transformed our society into a “hyper-connected space” in which the pitfalls, the risks, as well as the damages to the victims have grown exponentially. Identity theft, hacking, information piracy, threats to data integrity, on-line scams, or CEO fraud are the commonplace keywords that are part of the internet of things. Cybercrime can cause serious harm and long-term effects, whether the victims are individuals or companies. It is important to address the definition of “cybercrime,” since the term itself refers to a harmful behavior that is in some way related to a single computer or to a computer network and examine the main types of computer crimes in order to understand which countermeasures can be implemented to counteract these phenomena where the human factor is the fundamental component to promote the concept of “conscious attention” as a necessary resource to limit the risks of “cyber victimization.”
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Theoretical Framework

Before analyzing the phenomenological aspects of Cybercrime, it seems necessary to expose a theoretical framework and delineate the criminogenesis of antisocial behavior in the network society. Recent studies have shown that it is possible to apply the Cohen and Felson Theory of Routine Activities Model within an a-dimensional environment such as Cyberspace (Eck & Clark 2003; Junger, Montoya, Hartel & Heydari, 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Risk: A potential loss or damage when a threat exploits a vulnerability. Risk is function of threat and vulnerability and impact.

Crimeware: Is a class of computer programs or set of programs designed specifically to facilitate and sometime, to automate illegal activity online.

Cybercrime: In a broad sense is a crime in which the computer or communication networks are the target, tool, or are involved in criminal act.

Cyberspace: It is the immaterial environment consisting of devices and communications networks, which connects computers and allows users to interact with each other using computer-mediated communication technologies (CMC). The term today is commonly used to refer to the “internet world” in a broad sense.

Threat: In computer science is a set of circumstances that can potentially damage a system, a device or a network.

Countermeasures: Procedures, methods, actions, devices, and software that allow to remove or reduce vulnerabilities and limit the risks.

Vulnerability: Refers to a known weakness of an asset that can be exploited by one or more attackers. Vulnerability can concern computers system, devices, networks or can also be at organizational level.

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