The threat of cybercrime is an ever-present and increasing reality in both the private and professional sectors. With the advent of the internet, old crimes have taken on a new appearance. Theft and fraud can now be received directly into a personal home through online means. The financial loss and personal pain caused by hacking and other internet-related crimes cannot always be measured, but statistics are reported each year. Though these crimes span many aspects of life, the most prolific boil down to hacking and digital piracy. Hackers are able to gain access to financial assets and information, while other criminals are able to illegally download entertainment products, causing a decline in sales and loss of revenue.
Through cyber hacking, the security of individuals and corporations can be compromised. One of the easier crimes to recognize is financial fraud, in which a hacker misrepresents his/her identity in order to gain access to privileged materials for monetary gain. Other crimes include an illegal release of information, or inappropriate use of data and programs for reasons including curiosity and general malicious intent. Cyber hacking can be committed against companies and practices in the financial and medical sectors as well as individuals. As various industries are attacked money is stolen, identities appropriated, and information altered or corrupted.
In a statement concerning the US State of Cybercrime Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP reported that “this year, three in four (77%) respondents to the US State of Cybercrime Survey detected a security event in the past 12 months, and more than a third (34%) said the number of security incidents detected increased over the previous year”.
Most of the respondents were greatly affected by the state of cyber security, and were more concerned about the protection of their information and assets than they had been in the past. The compromising of private data does not necessarily end with financial theft, but can also involve a misuse of personal information . These statistics show that consumers are recognizing the growing threat to online security, and the continuously raised level of awareness concerning these issues. These growing concerns are reflective of the evolving nature of crime.
Another crime, digital piracy, is a well-known and even commonly practiced violation. Digital piracy is the use of the cyber network to illegally procure various media and entertainment materials. Transgressors download movies, songs, games, and more without paying for their use or ownership. Among the repercussions of piracy is a decline in sales for the wronged industries. In an article written by Joshua L. Smallridge and Jennifer R. Roberts, the authors study the effects of piracy on various entertainment industries. According to Smallridge and Roberts, digital piracy is a multinational and multi industry dilemma. The numbers included in their article show that billions of dollars are lost each year. These authors cite that over 40 billion dollars are lost to these industries each year as a result of online piracy. While the dollar figures are sobering, the exact loss is difficult to calculate, meaning greater losses are feasible.
Cybercrimes are far reaching and constantly evolving. Their effect is so nebulous that the losses created by these crimes cannot be accurately calculated. When the known financial losses are tallied, their total is staggering. Individuals and companies can be affected as identities are stolen and bank accounts plundered. Entertainment industries suffer as their materials are pirated and products enjoyed but the companies never compensated. The most prolific of these crimes are those in which hackers steal money or appropriate information and those in which an individual downloads or received digital material without providing proper payment, illustrating of the evolution of crime through the use of the internet.