Underground Cyber Economy and the Implication for Africa's Development: A Theoretical Overview

Underground Cyber Economy and the Implication for Africa's Development: A Theoretical Overview

Okhuevbie James Olu (Lagos State University, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1112-1.ch010

Abstract

Cybercrime and the activities of the underground cyber economy has detrimental consequences for the growth, development, and wellbeing of individuals, groups, organizations, and nations of the world. Criminal activities such as hacking, identity theft, scams, fraud, and cloning on individuals, corporate bodies, and nations are attempts by cyber criminals to illegally scoop funds out of these various treasuries for personal use, all of which have tremendous consequences for personal, corporate, national, and hence, continental development. The underground cyber economy is a key factor that has enhanced the continued perpetration of cybercrime activities. Leaning on the space transition , innovation diffusion, and the gang theories, as well as resources gathered from past studies, the current study examines the underground cyber-economy and its implications for the development of Africa.
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Background

The occurrence of crimes in the cyberspace is no longer a new phenomenon. Cybercrimes around the world have grown rapidly such that they threaten virtually everything including live, security and survival of nations (Tade & Aliyu, 2012; Kericha, 2017). Odinma (2010) describes cybercrime as any illegal activity perpetrated in, on or through the use of the internet, or the use of the internet to cheat, defraud or cause the malfunctioning of a network device. McConnell International noted that cybercrimes differ from other forms of crime in four different ways. First, it is easy to learn how to commit cybercrimes, cybercrimes require fewer resources compared to the level of damage done, cybercrimes can be committed at a location without the physical presence of the perpetrator and cybercrimes are often not illegal. Kericha (2017) describes four categories of cybercrime as; offences against the integrity, confidentiality, and the availability of computer data and systems such as illegal access, illegal interception, data or system interference, and illegal devices; computer-related offenses like computer-related forgery and computer-related fraud; content-related offenses (e.g. child pornography) and offenses that relate to infringements of copyright and related rights.

The internet exists to make tasks easier, faster, comfortable, less stressful, coherent, logical, organised and relatively less expensive (Remeikiene, Gaspareniene, & Schneider, 2018). Daily, individuals perform operations such as checking bank balances, make payments, paying bills and exchanging important documents and information, with the aid of gadgets, smartphones and computing devices through the internet, where this multiple information is processed and stored. Corporate bodies, firms, industries, and organisations also benefit from simplified business processes that the internet provides (Kericha, 2017). Despite its numerous advantages, the internet has given birth to several businesses and criminal activities that are detrimental to end-users. In the course of using the internet, individuals and groups exchange vital information that is shared processed and stored online; criminals understand these information systems and exploit them for personal financial gains, to the detriment of users (Yip, 2010). Hence, even though the internet is a platform for new opportunities and endless possibilities for work, business, and leisure, it has also created an avenue for immoral cyberspace users to commit cybercrimes. Tade and Aliyu (2012) explained that even though the internet remains an instrument for the dissemination of information and interaction among individuals and groups through the computer without regard for geographical location, it has also ushered in high levels of insecurity and crime. In other words, without the internet, there would be no cybercrime, cybercriminals or the underground cyber economy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Security: This has to do with safety of lives, property and data.

Cybercrime: This is the activity of criminals who operate on the internet.

Scam: This is a form of confidence trick involving promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money in return for a token investment.

Identity theft: This is the deliberate use of another person’s profile to commit a crime.

Economy: This is the state of a country in the context of production of goods and services.

Internet: This is a global computer medium that provides a variety of information and communication facilities.

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