“There are now myriad opportunities for individuals to engage in cybercrime, where individuals use cyberspace or computer technology to facilitate acts of crime and deviance.”

Over the last two decades, a massive shift in the ways that humans utilize computer technology has occurred. The development of the World Wide Web and easy-to-use computer hardware and software revolutionized the way in which people communicate and engage in business transactions. The development of cellular telephony, wireless internet connectivity, tablet PCs, and mobile devices made it increasingly easy for individuals to go online from anywhere at any time. Computers and the Internet now serve as the backbone for virtually all facets of modern life, from personal communications and finance to the processing and management of electrical grids and power plants.

These changes have led to the emergence of cybercrimes, which can be classified into four categories. The first includes acts of cyber-trespass, where hackers or malicious actors attempt to infiltrate networks and systems that they are not authorized to access. Related to trespass are acts of cyber-deception and theft, where fraudsters use spam e-mail and other methods to obtain sensitive financial and personal information. This category also includes digital piracy, or the distribution and use of intellectual property, such as movies, music, and media, without paying for the product. The third form of cybercrime includes cyber-pornography and obscenity, whether through the creation and distribution of child pornography or the solicitation of sex workers through the web and cellular telephony. Finally, cyber-violence involves acts that may lead to personal harm on- or off-line, including bullying, harassment, and stalking. Increasing research has also explored the use of cyberspace as a means to engage in acts of terror against governments and civilian targets.

School of Criminal Justice personnel specializing in cybercrime include:

Dr. Tom Holt

Dr. Jeremy Wilson