Theoretical Context of Cybercrime

Theoretical Context of Cybercrime

Tansif Ur Rehman (University of Karachi, Pakistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6960-3.ch009
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The internet is conceivably today's most innovative development as it proceeds to change everyday life for almost everyone globally. Billions of individuals are using the internet, and thousands enter the online world each day. Not merely has the internet revolutionized the way people connect and learn; it has eternally changed the way people live across the globe. As the internet and computer advances, offenders have originated ways to utilize these innovations as intended for their criminal acts. In social science research, social theories are of great significance. Without a theoretical direction, social facts are like a snuffed-out candle that cannot determine its bearer's path. Social theories contribute to the development of sound scientific foundations for resolving issues in any social inquiry. Theories guide our observations of the world. Digital technology has an impact and has numerous challenges. The respective work has its significance in helping and exploring this dilemma via a multifaceted theoretical approach.
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Generally, a theory is an assumption or thought. The social theory explains a notion briefly and comprises some logical reasons that are collected over a while. However, the definition of social theory varies according to context and methodologies. A social theory may not be necessarily based on everyone’s opinion, as it might be a statement irrespective of what people think about it. Thus, a social theory is a proposition that helps researchers explore the new situation that exists and is available to be observed.

Theory and research both are significant notions. A theory provides the basic structure of propositions, and research provides the technique and method to fit the theory in a particular context. It also helps to bring modifications regarding the existing theories (Sarantakos, 2013). Although these theories were formerly intended to elucidate traditional crimes, they can still be functional regarding the very notion of cybercrime in today’s world. The presented research has incorporated sociological theories, and the respective research builds a context around these theories.

Technological dependence has become essential due to a growth in human dependence on cyber activity. Cyberlife is a cyberspace or internet life, as opposed to real life, often lived in a distinct cyber persona. Criminals were designed to switch from real-world burglary to cybercrime, which is relatively more comfortable for them. The motives for cybercriminals can be very explicit. The two that make up the vast majority are money and data. According to the Verizon Enterprise survey, a total of 93% of the impetus for attacks is financial and espionage-driven. Apart from that, the less common but broader range of motivations is also categorized as Fun, Ideology, and Grudges (FIG) (Vircom, 2018).

It is sometimes tempting to downplay cybercrime, painting it always being the action of a lone individual, but while this is true of some crimes, the reality of cybercrime as a whole is very different (Benson & McAlaney, 2019; Johansen, 2020; Troia, 2020; Yar & Steinmetz, 2019). Several thousand groups are dedicated to cybercrime in the contemporary era because of its rewards (Austin, 2020; Gillespie, 2019; Leukfeldt & Holt, 2019). It is evident that as people become more dependent on technology, they become easier targets of cybercrime (Hudak, 2019; Martellozzo & Jane, 2017; Steinberg, 2019), as it also could evolve to bring about new problems (Hufnagel & Moiseienko, 2019; Marion & Twede, 2020).

It is essential to realize how people understand the extent of cybercrime that they are victims or could be the victim of cybercrime (Abaimov & Martellini, 2020; Azevedo, 2019; Carlson, 2019; Marsh & Melville, 2019; Steinberg, 2019). For example, sending emails trying to influence people to enter their bank detail is illegal, but almost everyone with an email address has received an email asking them to confirm their bank details (Bancroft, 2019; Bandler & Merzon, 2020). Another problem is identifying cybercrime victims: those situations where people do not know that they have been victimized (Edwards 2019; Graham & Smith, 2019; Hutchings, 2013; Sangster, 2020). Most computer users will be aware of the need to install firewall and antivirus software (Littler & Lee, 2020; Schober & Schober; 2019). It is often rare for someone to know that the program has stopped a virus or potential hack (Kim, 2018; Lavorgna, 2020; Willems, 2019).

According to Min-Pei Lin (2020), the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has significantly disrupted normal activities globally. During this epidemic, people around the world were expected to encounter several mental health challenges. Internet addiction in particular may become a serious issue among teens. Internet usage had grown during the COVID-19 epidemic, including the frequency and duration of recreational Internet use and the frequency of stay-up Internet use (Dong et al., 2020).

According to Fernandes, et al. (2020), teenagers have generally intensified their use of social media platforms and entertainment channels since the pandemic. In addition, those who scored high on gambling addiction, compulsive Internet usage, and social media use also showed high rates of depression, isolation, escape, low sleep quality, and pandemic-related anxiety. The findings show that irrespective of the country of origin, the epidemic of COVID-19 had a substantial impact on teenage Internet use and psychosocial well-being. The need to treat pandemic-related anxiety to reduce the impact of maladaptive coping mechanisms is emphasized.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Hacking: To gain unauthorized access to data in a system or computer.

Social Learning: Individuals learn from one another via observation, imitation, and modeling.

Self-Control: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior.

Cybercrime: The use of a computer to commit a crime.

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