Terrorism and Cyber Crime
The terms crime analysis and investigative practice have been used significantly in the field of law in spite of the lack of a standard way to define them. Crime analysis has for instance been defined as the fragmentation of criminal acts, assessing their nature and reporting inferences obtained there from with the intention to extract vital information for use in the suppression of crimes and in the apprehension of criminals. Crime analysis practically assists in the investigative practice and in the efforts geared towards crime prevention. The modern crime analysis and investigative practice have been constrained by terrorism and cyber crime which have made it difficult to suppress crimes or prevent them. Cyber crime which is also referred to as electronic, e-crime, hi-tech or computer crime refers to the criminal activity with the network or computer acting as the device, target, point or source of the crime. That is, cyber crime encompasses: fraudulent acts, embezzlement, theft, blackmail and other crimes for which network or computer forms a significant component. Cyber crime can be broadly regarded as a network of illegal activities that are based on information technology and takes the forms of: SPAM where volumes of email are sent for trade purposes, fraud where facts are misrepresented resulting to losses or offensive/obscene data that is not only distasteful to the public but offends them and so is considered illegal.
On the other hand, terrorism refers to a political criminal activity aimed at intimidating people. There has been significant rise in cyber terrorism from the early 2001. Terrorism and cyber crime have posed great challenges to the investigative practices and criminal analysis. This has triggered debates about whether the investigations into cyber crime and terrorism should remain incident driven or whether a strategy should be formulated to confront the issues. This paper looks into the possibilities of crime analysis and investigative practices achieving favorable outcomes with cyber crime and terrorism.
Terrorism and cyber crime depict the lack of analytic approach and sound investigative practice in the earlier days. Due to that, the opportunities to indulge in criminal activities have increased exorbitantly. This has been propelled to the greater extent by the inability to start proactive scrutiny in the terrorism and cyber crime. According to Peter, “There is evidence that cyber crime and terrorism has shown trends in the past where a proactive investigative and analytic approach has not always been used”. In deed, investigative practices into terrorism and cyber crime have remained incident driven where preventive and readiness measures have not been formulated to curb the same. Cyber crime has taken a firm ground with databases that cause violence to unsuspecting uninformed groups. Avanti reports that ignorance has contributed to the rising terrorism and cyber crime which has also threatened people’s lives and made them incur monetary losses. Each person who uses the internet is obligated to ensure security of information in order to save lives and prevent financial losses. Terrorism and cyber crime are not simply fictitious but very practical whereby criminals use computers as potential gadgets for damaging and attacking nations and in their terrorist conspiracy strategies.
In regard to that, organizations like the EC-Council have instigated campaigns directed towards creating awareness about terrorism and cyber crimes. This has been propelled by the demise of huge organizations which in turn have consequentially damaged nations. Partial success has been achieved by the Council through certifying people in the security and e-business industry. Cyber crime incidents are hardly reported or disclosed for the fear of their negative implications to the public. Both the authorities and internet users are not well informed which makes it easy for criminals to access the high-tech cyber security points. In spite of that, cyber crime evidence can not be relied upon in legal proceedings as it is usually tampered with by the crime perpetrators making it impossible for their prosecution. As a matter of fact, cyber crime is not legally treated as murder case yet it goes to the point of destruction of lives. Cyber crime is a key issue of crime analysis given the voluminous confidential information placed on servers and the network calling for retrieval of the same. For instance, for insurance companies, the internet is indispensable for the storage of private information, online interrogation and submitting of claims. However, cyber crime has posed a great risk making both insurers and the insured vulnerable. Such daunting risk can not be underestimated and this calls for the need to analyze the databases with information about the cyber criminals’ identity, their location and even the point of crime.
Cyber crime has resulted to stealing of information from websites, destroying network or even the computer itself which crashes when the digital information is damaged. In deed, most companies are adversely affected by cyber terrorism and the cost of handling the problem. Survey findings reveal that more than 95 percent of Irish firms have been affected by cyber crime. That is, various incidents particularly virus infection and abuse of network systems have posed significant problems to large corporations. According to the IBLS Press Department, popular Irish sites were destroyed by hackers who left similar pages as proof of subsequent successful attacks. Large numbers of employees were fired for forwarding pornographic messages.Nevertheless, the computer acts as a reliable storage device for evidence which may be used in criminal investigations. As a matter of fact, cyber crime calls for the use of the most effective investigative practice because of its complicated nature. There has been a surge of crimes created by the use of the internet and the computer damaging solid organizations like banks and corporations.
Following that, security measures have been instituted in some countries prompting the offenders to relocate to other nations especially the developing ones because they lack ample security. A strategic approach should be employed in the investigative practice and crime analysis in areas prone to cyber crime and terrorism. In deed, a proactive approach needs to be used in the enforcement of law particularly that concerning the patterns and trends of cyber crime.
On the other hand, the acts of terrorism can not be overlooked given their significant prevalence in the global world. The U.S has been the key target for most terrorist attacks since the early 1990s with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center propelling a proactive investigation into the incidences of terrorism. According to Peter:
The World Trade Center Bombing involved a bomb laden van being driven into the parking garage of the World Trade Center. There was also a foiled plot to bomb the U.S commercial aircraft transiting the Far East in 1995. In respect of this incident, it is considered that proactive investigative practices were not occurring so much at that time, thus the opportunities were not limited for the terrorist attackers.
The difficulty in obtaining tactical information from terrorist cells has heightened the problem of terrorism making the U.S more vulnerable to the same. According to Stephen, predictive analysis of terrorism is complicated by the availability of information to terrorist organizations that directs them in their action plan and therefore it is hard for the analysts to develop strategies for future terrorist attacks.
Indeed effective elimination of cyber crime and terrorism remains a major challenge to the law enforcement agencies. The fact that cyber crime takes many forms has hampered any efforts to come up with a clear cut strategy of fighting these forms of crimes. Through executive authorization by the president, the FBI has the mandate to investigate and curb cyber crime. Department of Homeland Security on the other hand has the responsibility of fighting terrorism and securing national security. For cyber crime, the investigative approach remains incident driven while for terrorism; there exists a clear strategy and immense resources to fight against terrorism and all perceived threats of terrorism.
As has been examined, cyber crime is broad and revolves around a number of offenses, some which maybe sometimes hard to detect and stop. The FBI for example has a number of departments with each being allocated responsibility to fight against a specific cyber crime. Child pornography has been identified as having been taken to a new level by the advent of the internet. It has become common and also hard to track. The FBI has employed immense efforts in the fight against child pornography aiming at curbing those that produce and distribute it. The issue of intellectual property has also been given adequate attention, especially as internet has become the main tool of communication. This is considered key to the welfare and competitiveness of the United States. Efforts have also been put into place to eradicate organized cyber criminals who have been found to target both the public and government agencies. These cyber crimes do not require a common strategy but rather calls for individual approach. This is because they do not follow a particular profile as there are differences in their motivations. While some may be financial oriented, others may have an intention of sabotaging certain activities or as pure mischief. Law enforcement agencies faces all manner of problems and complaints and a single approach would be inappropriate in dealing with them, it requires a multifaceted approach that has to take into consideration the specific nature and motivations of such a crime.
Terrorism on the other hand calls for a different approach form cyber crime. a look at the past years indicates that the law enforcement agencies have stepped up their efforts in cubing terrorism both at the domestic and at the international level. Homeland security has outlined a clear strategy that aims at identifying possible terror groups and individuals. It has also compiled a huge list of individuals and groups associated with terrorism. This hence has meant that it is easy to create a profile and the most common characteristics of terrorists. The profiling strategy adopted by the anti terrorism agencies in the united states for example has come under immense criticism especially as it is seen as targeting individuals from a certain racial and religious group. Due to negative publicity and the steps taken by the law enforcement agencies after the terrorist attacks in 2001, Muslim became widely associated with terrorism. Individuals from the Middle Eastern countries also became a soft target for the Homeland Security Department. This was in the belief that they met the set profile for terrorists. Whether this has worked so far remains a subject of immense debate but efforts to curb both domestic and international terrorism have been successful as can be discerned from the decreased incidences and threats.
Investigative practices and crime analysis can be accomplished through crime profiling and mapping in order to attain favorable outcomes with cyber crime and terrorism. Crime profiling refers to the outlining of the speculations about distinct characteristics of particular criminals in the efforts of analyzing crimes. Profiling whether psychological or behavioral aids in narrowing suspects’ search in the investigative practice. Geographical profiling has in deed been useful in terrorists’ analysis so as to locate their residence areas. On the other hand, crime maps yield powerful information to readers in the form of dots, symbols and shades. They are used to scrutinize the crime related information and to establish the worst criminal hit areas.
Investigative practice can in deed yield a favorable outcome with terrorism and cyber crime happening at a lesser degree compared to that in which investigators into the crime adjust to the changes in the legislature and judicial provisions thereby allowing for criminals to be put behind bars. Intellectual interdependence forms the integral component in criminal analysis and investigative practices at international level given the dynamic techniques of committing cyber crime. The private sector, the law enforcement, the government and the society should collaborate in investigating and analyzing cyber crime hot spots in order to formulate a strategic approach in handling cyber crime and terrorism. The incident driven approach to the crimes poses a great challenge to the global fraternity who might have already suffered losses upon the detection of the crime.
Information technology has availed information to the public increasing the potential for terrorist attacks. As a result, the cyber crime and terrorism can not be investigated separately because they are transnational criminal activities with detrimental effects to the entire countries. They both deter investment and economic development because people fear to invest, lives and property are lost and hefty sums of money are spent in the attempts to counteract them.
Terrorism and cyber crime have catastrophically affected countries at a global level with little success being achieved in the attempts to eliminate them. The contemporary methods of criminal analysis and investigative practice should be guided by preventive and readiness measures. This will result in the suppression of crimes and fair prosecution of the criminals. Cooperation and effective communication in devising a strategic approach to criminal analysis will produce positive results. The use of hi-tech software in criminal mapping and profiling in crime analysis will lead to achievement of favorable results with cyber crime and terrorism. Modern technology coupled with intellectual interdependence will reduce the chances of committing crimes. The long run accomplishment for the limited crime opportunities will be a significant eradication of cyber crime and terrorism. Although still fruitful, an incident driven approach is constrained by the urgency of the prevalent situation and can not achieve total suppression of crime. Therefore, a strategic approach should be formulated because it can be relied upon in the combat of cyber crime and terrorism both at the present and in the future.
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 Lynch, Peter. Crime Analysis and Investigation. United States: CP Limited, 2005; 7
 Sloam, Stephen. ‘Terrorism: How vulnerable is the United States’? Terrorism: National Security and the Home Front 14 May 1995; 1.
 Osborne, Deborah., and Susan Wermicke. Introduction to Crime Analysis. Haworth: Haworth Press, 2003; 6
 Lori, Chordas. ‘Cyber crime Fighters: Recognizing their own vulnerabilities, insurers tighten security for their online operations’. Best’s Review 1 December 2001; 6.