Expository Essay Example on Cybercrime

6 pages
1596 words
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Thesis proposal
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Today, during an era when globalization and innovation are at an all-time peak, there is heightened global use of social media. According to the Morselli & Decary (2013), the Bulletin Board Systems that can be traced back to the 1980s are believed to have been the origin of social media platforms. Successively, Six Degrees, a platform launched in 1997 is arguably the first modern social media platform CITATION Mor13 \l 1033 (Morselli & Decary-Hetu, 2013). Soon after, several synonymous platforms were developed with the flagship being MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. The introduction of these social media sites substantially changed the prevailing interpersonal relationships and interactions between people across the world. Furthermore, the recent decades have been characterized by increased development of social media platforms. Thus, most people are now on social media. As a result, businesses have also adopted social media as an important marketing strategy and platform. Along these lines, social media is certainly imperative given the cohort of benefits that are bundled with its effective use. In addition to connecting people, it is immensely valuable to businesses and their marketing endeavors. Be that as it may, social media has its drawbacks. Subsequently, while crime has always been in existence, the heightened use of computers and the internet have enhanced crimes. According to Gray, Citron, & Rinehart (2013), healthcare crime has risen to an alarming $60 annual fraudulent Medicare payment problem. Thus, cybercrime is the most significant drawback that emanates from increased use of computers and the internet. Consequently, this paper endeavors to explore the relationship between increased social media utilization and cybercrime. In so doing, the paper will take a gander at the theories that bolster the growth of computer crimes and their attractiveness to criminals. For instance, some argue that the anonymity aspect makes cyber crimes more attractive CITATION Hut14 \l 1033 (Hutchings, 2014). On the other hand, others attribute the low reporting and prosecution rates to the increased cybercrimesCITATION DSW08 \l 1033 (Wall, 2008). Finally, the paper will explore the impacts of the increased cyberccrimes on forensic investigations. It is apparent that there is a wide array of challenges including but not limited to the volume and diverse types that law enforcement officers face in the process of collecting evidence and prosecuting cybercrimes, hence the validity of this study.

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Keywords: cybercrime, forensic investigation process, social media.


1.1 Problem statement

Cyber crime has been rising in complexity and costs since the introduction of social media platforms and the use of computers at the core of business processes in numerous global organizations. As innovation and the use of social media increases between individuals, governments, and businesses on the global spectrum, criminals have taken advantage of this domain and capitalized on it as a money-making avenue. Succinctly, social media platforms such as but not limited to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are often involved in cases of abuse, through copyright encroachment, information security infringement, criticism, data fraud, badgering, and dispersal of classified data and malware that can influence both associations and people. As a result, the computer legal process of acquiring digital evidence from social media platforms is a major challenge that law enforcement agencies face. Furthermore, there lacks standard laws, guidelines, and regulations surrounding social media use and forensic investigation process.

1.2 Purpose

Today, social media plays a crucial role in the daily lives of most individuals as well as the core business processes of organizations on the global spectrum. With approximately 40% of the worlds population connected to the internet, 75% of them use social media with these numbers likely to keep rising. Given the popularity and increased use of social media, these platforms are bound to result to a cohort of effects. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the impacts of social media with a primary focus on cybercrime and forensic investigation process.

1.3 Hypothesis

In light of the fact that the rise of cybercrimes is parallel to the heightened use of computers and the internet in general and social media in particular, it becomes imperative to explore the underlying hypothesis. These theories are significant in the depicting the relationship between cybercrimes and rise in social media use. First, the anonymity aspect of cybercrime makes it attractive to criminals. Social media platforms give room for criminals to hide their true identities as there is not an effective way of authentication hence motivating these criminals to expand their criminal activities. Second, there is a low rate of reporting and prosecution of cybercrimes due to lack of knowledge as well as the absence of standard laws and regulations.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study will prove immensely valuable to individual social media users, governments and law enforcement bodies, as well as business organizations. In an era where social media is almost a basic necessity, the study will provide a deeper insight into the impact of social media on forensic investigation process. Given that there is an absence of standard laws that govern social media, this study is significant to all stakeholders. Given the extensive use of social media, its impacts are global hence the significance of this study.

1.5 Research Questions.Does the increase in social media lead to an equal increase in cybercrime?

Why are computer crimes more attractive that other forms of crime?

What are effects of social media use?

What are the legal aspects of cyber security?


2.1 Social Media Overview

According to Kaplan & Haenlein (2010), social media is a gathering of Internet-based applications that expand on the ideological and mechanical establishments of advanced broadband accessibility and equipment capacity, and that permit the creation and user generated content. User-generated content ought to be distributed either on a publicly online platform and show a particular level of imaginative exertion. In light of these definitions, social media incorporates social systems platforms such as Facebooks as well as online journals, virtual social universes like Second Life, communitarian ventures, e.g., Wikipedia, content domains, and virtual gaming world CITATION AMK10 \l 1033 (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). In general, social media platforms permits clients to convey and impart information to other people CITATION JBr13 \l 1033 (Brunty & Helenek, 2013).

Be that as it may, social media platforms are furnishing its clients with anonymity. These anonymity aspects are developing in prevalence since clients can impart and share content without making a client profile. The elements were initially incorporated in response to worries over security and digital footprint.

2.3 Cybercrime Overview

Over the years, many researchers and scholars have endeavored to explore the concept of cybercrime, its definition, and impacts. Be that as it may, these researchers, cyber security experts, law enforcement officers, and legal advisors, have different viewpoints on the concept of cybercrime. It is progressively hazy whether cybercrime alludes to legal, sociological, innovative, or lawful parts of crime and a global standard definition remains at large. Experts have attempted to outline the essential qualities of cybercrime with constrained agreement CITATION SGo06 \l 1033 (Gordon & Ford, 2006). Current definitions change fundamentally, contingent upon the legal instrument or association characterizing the term CITATION FPo04 \l 1033 (Pocar, 2004). The abuse of information technology upon which social media falls under by criminals is conversely alluded to as cybercrime, computer crime, misuse, high innovation crime, among others related terms CITATION MDG02 \l 1033 (Goodman & Brenner, 2002). Be that as it may, these terms are not synonymous. Highlighting the degree of disarray and absence of consistency, the meaning of 'e-crime is at chances with that given by the Australian Institute of Criminology (2011). As indicated, "e-Crime" includes the utilization of arranged computer or Internet technology to carry out or encourage the commission of a crime CITATION Ass09 \l 1033 (Association of Chief Police Officers, 2009). Contrastingly, the AIC alludes "e-crime" to an overall mark for crimes conferred utilizing an electronic information database or specialized gadget CITATION Aus11 \l 1033 (Australian Institute of Criminology, 2011). Whereas extensive research depicts various definitions of the concept of cybercrimes, the common ground is the connection of cybercrimes to increased use of computers, the internet, and social media CITATION Ako09 \l 1033 \m WBC11 (Akopyan & Yelyakov, 2009; Chik & Bartholomew, 2011).


3.1 Data Collection

Data collection will encompass an analytic approach. In so doing the study will employ qualitative methods of data collection that will include an examination of existing data from credible databases and reports. Furthermore, previous research will provide a backdrop upon which the studys findings will be interlocked. Analytic data techniques will be significant in the interpretation of results.

3.2 Data Analysis

Data analysis is an interactive process by which answers to the research questions will see if the results bolster the hypothesis to each question. Thus, a qualitative analysis will be employed to interpret the results with the expected results preferences being to answer all the research questions succinctly.

3.3 Preliminary Results and Discussion

Digital evidence from social media use can be found on desktop computers, laptops, and smartphones. In desktop computers and laptops, the platforms are accessed through web browsers while smartphones support the use of particular mobile applications. These browsers provide good sources of potential digital proof, counting history, searches, and credentials. What's more, these Internet programs likewise keep up a reserve or a cache, which is a vault for putting away duplicates of accessed sites hence speeding up the preparing of data while reviving a site. Web-based social networking antiques are fundamentally stored in the cache. Along these lines, some digital forensic tools can be used in the analysis of social media objects.

3.4 Implications of the Research

This research endeavor is a radical eye-opener and an asset in the comprehension of social media use, and its impacts on cybercrime and forensic investigation process. Thus, the future of digital forensics is primarily dependent on the dynamic...

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