Cyber Crime Investigations: The Obstacles For Law Enforcement Officials

1578 words - 6 pages

Because the wide world of technology has developed at such an astounding pace, there are many problems for victims as well as investigators of cyber crime and computer-related crimes. First, we must familiarize ourselves with the definitions of cyber crime and computer-related crime. For this paper, we will define cyber crime as the use of a computer as a tool to commit a crime or as a crime committed where a computer is the target. We will define computer-related crime as a traditional crime where a computer is used to carry out, record actions, or provide evidence of a crime. The beginnings of the problem of investigating cyber crime come in the form of reporting. For many reasons cyber crimes tend to go unreported or severely underreported. Another problem is that law enforcement officials (as well as parents and their children) do not have adequate training, allocation of funds, coordination with other agencies, or proper understanding of applicable laws that pertain to cyber crime. From all angles cyber crime is a difficult problem to tackle, and there is a definite need for law enforcement to catch up with the technology of cyber space, which is quickly becoming a feeding ground for illegal and illicit activity.Despite the fact that there are numerous state and federal reporting agencies, an incredible amount of businesses and regular personal computer users do not report incidents. Among businesses, specifically, ninety percent of cyber crime goes unreported while only two percent of those that are reported end in a conviction. Because businesses have so much of the population's personal information, and their validity depends on the consumer's ability to depend on and trust the business, the businesses find a larger risk in revealing that their computer systems are susceptible breaching than the actual loss from a cyber attack. Succinctly, the economic loss from consumer's mistrust would create a financial loss more damaging than the cyber attack itself; despite the fact that United States businesses have a net loss of five billion dollars, annually, due to cyber attacks. As for regular home computer and internet users, they do not report incidents because they know that there is rarely a resolution and law enforcement agencies can provide little to no help (Hale, 2002). Resulting from this epidemic, there has been a call for reformation of the laws in recent years. Some government representatives would like to see tougher laws put into place that would deter computer related crimes. Some are even asking for legislation that would hold computer giants accountable for software that contains security flaws, thus allowing for attacks such as viruses and worms that cause destruction. Of course, opponents of these ideas believe that civil liberties will be in jeopardy (Hansen, 2002). Reporting is the most informative way that investigators can fight cyber crime. Without these reports, law enforcement officials will be forced to play the...

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