Susan W. Brenner’s Cybercrime: Criminal Threats from Cyberspace is scary, exciting, and informative all in one book. It takes you on rollercoaster from start to finish as your eyes are opened to the realities of cybercrime and cybercriminals’ capabilities as our technologies have progressed. Brenner’s book is an excellent piece for those that are not savvy about technology terminology and cybercrime.
Brenner opens by giving an example of the chaos that a cybercriminal can make and the long distance at which this can occur. In Townsend, Massachusetts, a group of eighth graders at Hawthorne Brooke Middle School chatted online to each other in a chat room for Limp Bizkit fans. They spoke not only of the band but also about personal things and school. One day, a new boy appeared in the chat room claiming to be from the same school. This boy, gathering information from the students, was able to chime in on the conversation and blend in. The new boy began to say strange things and claimed that he was a serial rapist and was coming for them and sent them a link to a site with child pornography. After pressing him harder, the boy told them that he was the student who they had been talking about in their chat room. The children started doubting if he was even from the school, and upon telling him this, he threatened to blow up the school. The students finally told their parents after the mysterious person sent pictures of the cross hairs of a rifle scope on the school and an altered picture of the principal to make him look like he had been shot. Police and school officials could not figure out a suspect, and parents and students started becoming suspicious of each other. Parents began keeping their children from school, and some teachers began to quit. The harassing continued when people received phone calls with the song associated with the Columbine shooting that had just happened five months prior. Police were finally able to track the Internet activity to Maple
Woods Community College to 19-year-old, paraplegic Christian Hunold in Smithville, Missouri over 1000 miles away. This story is a perfect example of cybercrime, its capabilities to allow someone to manipulate inhabitants from miles away, and the ease for someone to become involved in cyberspace (Brenner, 2010, p. 7).
Before Brenner could get deep into cybercrime, the term must first be defined. What is cybercrime? Cybercrime is “engaging in conduct that is outlawed because it threatens order” (Brenner, 2010, p. 10). The main difference between cybercrime and crime is in the tools used; cybercriminals use computer technology instead of guns. With the increase of technology, there is a shift of real-life crime into cyberspace. Because of cyberspace, criminals are able to commit traditional crimes in new and scary ways (Brenner, 2010, p. 10).
When cybercrime began must be examined before looking at where it is now. When larger mainframe computers began to become available...