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Overview of Social Media & Cyber Crimes

by Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh
0 comment 9 minutes read

It took 38 years or so for Radio to reach 50 million people, 13 years or so for television to reach the same number however it took just 4 years for Internet to do so. In just one recent year, the Popular Social Media site Facebook signed over 200 million users. What makes Social Media so Appealing? What is a Social Media or networking site? The answer is: it is a website that allows those who have an account to communicate with a selected group of friends or people. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, What Sapp and 2Go are just some of these Social Media sites.
When properly used, Social Media has been a powerful tool in connecting with loved ones and interacting with friends. In fact, humans are hardwired to interact with humans and that’s why Social Media is so appealing, because it does just that. Also many youths have friends and family members living far away. In the past, it took weeks or even months for letters or telegrams to get to their destinations. Sometimes they never get there. With the advent of mobile phones, it became easy to keep in touch with loved ones. But sometimes, we cannot call these ones because we don’t have airtime. It might be difficult to communicate with friends and family living abroad because of the exorbitant airtime needed. Worse yet, it consumes time especially since you have to call one person at a time and some may not be at home or available to talk when you are. However, the Social media has made things even easier. With as low as 10 Megabyte of data, one can connect with friends and family members anywhere in the World and for a longer period of time. In fact, some network service providers have made social media free of charge! This has made communication easier. What’s more, the Social media has been very useful when disaster strikes-such as the earthquake, Tsunami that caused untold disaster. During and after such a disaster, phone lines are usually down and no one cares to check emails. So it becomes impossible to communicate with our loved one and inquire about their safety. But with Social media, one can just pick up his cell phone, access the internet and go the page of his or her loved one and read the information posted or even chat briefly. It’s that easy.
But Social media has also a demerit which may turn into cybercrimes. Cyber Crime or Computer oriented Crime is the crime that involved a computer and a networks. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime or it may be the target. Cybercrime can be defined as: Offences that are committed against individual or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm or loss to the victim directly or indirectly using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (networks including chat rooms, e-mails, notice board and groups) and mobile phones (Bluetooth, SMS, MMS). Cybercrime may threaten a person or a nation’s security and financial health. Issues surrounding these types of crimes have become high profile, particularly those surrounding hacking, copyright infringement, unwanted mass surveillance, sextortion, child pornography and child grooming. There are also problem of privacy when confidential information is intercepted or disclosed lawfully or otherwise. Internationally both governmental and non-state actor engages in cybercrimes including espionage, financial theft and other cross-border crimes. Cybercrimes crossing international border and involving the actions of at least one nation state is sometimes referred to as Cyber war fare. A report sponsored by McAfee published in 2014 estimated that the annual damage to the Global economy was $445 billion. Approximately $1.5 billion was lost in 2012 to online credit and debit Card fraud in the US. In 2018 a study by Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS) in Partnership with McAfee concludes that close to $600 billion, nearly 1% of global GDP is lost to Cybercrime each year.
In the bid to connect with people many youths have added friend requests from people they know absolutely nothing about. Some of these friends might be criminals, fraudsters, bullies. Sexually immoral people and bad friends. These wrong types of friends can prove to be bad influence .We have many stories of youths who were defrauded ,raped, bullied and even murdered by their social media friends. Others learn bad things from these so call friends and end up engaging in crime. More alarming also is the amount
of time that is spent by teenagers “connecting with friends and families. Many teenagers have become addicted to the point that the social media has taken over their lives. They are so deeply engrossed that they get cut off from the society and hibernate into the world of social media. These youths are constantly thinking about being online. Even when online, they keep thinking about to update their status and post new pictures when they come to the online next. They read comments here, post videos there, reply to comments the other side and before you know it, hours will fly by. This in turn will have negative consequences. These youths end up losing the real friends they have to friends they have not met before. They get robbed of sleep, isolate themselves from family and friends and become lost in the imaginary world of Social media. Some end up getting killed in road crashes while chatting on Social media sites. How tragic is this!
Social media has helped in crime detection, Security agencies have access to people’s personal accounts. This can help in cracking down on criminals and fraudsters. However it has also increased crime. How so? Most teenagers think that their privacy is secured while on Social media. Hence they post their pictures of where they are or disclose information that are supposed to be kept to them such as their home address ,email address, where they attend the school, the name of their pet, the times when they are at home and when no one is and other sensitive information. These information are enough to tell criminals or stalkers when to strike. It can also be used for identity thefts, hackers, phishing, scams and virus sending. The Social media has also made it possible for pupils and students to make good grades at school. However Social media is also responsible for mass failure of pupils and students at the schools. It has been found that while grades of students who used Social media slightly improved the Grades of the students who are addicted to it declined greatly. One study says that students’ Users have an average GPA of 3.06 while non-users have an average GPA of 3.82. This is one of the worst real problem & painful situation that our parents are facing at the moment. Social Media has created thousands of jobs for people, at the same times it has led to loss of jobs and unemployment. Social media is a very cheap weapon to ruin one’s reputation with just one thoughtless picture or post. Another notable advantage of Social media is that it has facilitated the spread of useful information. Today, useful and even lifesaving information floods the Social media platforms thereby, creating awareness and as we know, information is power.
Computer crime or cybercrime encompasses a broad range of activities. Any dishonest misrepresentation of fact intended to let another to do or refrain from doing something which cause loss is known as Computer Fraud. Other forms of fraud may be facilitates using computer system, including Bank fraud, Carding, identity theft, extortion and theft of classified information. A variety of internet scams, many based on phishing and social Engineering target consumers and businesses. An act of terrorism committed through the use of cyberspace or computer resources is generally defined as Cyber terrorism. As such a simple propaganda piece in the Internet that there will be bomb attack during holidays can be considered as cyber terrorism. Cyber extortion occurs when website- email server or computer system is subjected to or threatened with repeated denial of service or other attacks by malicious hackers. These hackers demand money in return for promising to stop the attack and offer protection. Perpetrators typically use a distributed denial of service attack. However other cyber extortion techniques exist such as doxing extortion and bug poaching. Cyber warfare is not the least to mention. These crimes are committed by a selected group of criminals. Unlike crimes using the computer as a tool, these crimes require the technical knowledge of the perpetrators. These crimes are relatively new, having been in existence for only as long as computer have – which explains how unprepared society and the world in generals in combating these crimes. There are numerous crime of this nature committed daily on the internet. Crimes that primarily target computer networks or devices include Computer Viruses, denial of service attacks, malware (malicious code).
When the individual is the main target of cybercrime, the computer can be considered as the tool rather than the target. Human weaknesses are generally exploited. The damage dealt is largely psychological and intangible, making legal action against the variants more difficult. The content of the websites and other electronic communication may be distasteful, obscene or offensive for a variety of reasons. Whereas content may be offensive in a non-specific way, harassment, direct obscenities and derogatory comments at specific individuals focusing for example on gender, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation. The recent viral video of two women being paraded in naked is of such nature. Harassment on the internet also includes revenge porn. Dark net markets are used to buy and sell recreational drugs online. Some drug traffickers used encrypted messaging tools to communicate with drug mules. As technology advances and more people rely on the internet to store sensitive information such as banking or credit cards information, criminals increasingly attempts to steal that information. Cybercrime is becoming more of threat to people across the world. Social media can do well, it can also do badly. The bottom line is just moderation. So let’s use Social media usefully.
(Writer can be reached at :[email protected])

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