Crime in the present era has vastly evolved due to technology. In earlier years, crime was quite manual, so to speak, but currently owing to the latest technology, many countries were hit by the crime wave. Technological know-how has eased and rewritten the rules of crime. Today the Internet is used to commit any offense. For instance, fraud, hacking, virus writing and even identity theft are some crimes that are aided by the use of the Internet (Carr, 2004). Criminals now can conduct many malicious activities using developed software. Therefore, the Internet is now being used creatively for crimes all over the world. To explore this issue, it is crucial to answer the question: What role does the Internet play in crime?
Chat rooms and other interactive components of the Internet accessed via computers and mobile phones have made it possible for strangers to meet. These feature has made fraud and identity theft quite easy and fast. Using the Internet to commit crime does not necessarily mean damaging property. The Internet allows criminals to gain unauthorized and illegal access to computer systems with an aim of altering, deleting or even damaging computer data. According to Carr (2004), people can manipulate critical information and confidential data. The Internet allows software theft and makes the privacy of users vulnerable. This implies breach of informational and human privacy, and alteration of sensitive data.
Hacking is an example of a crime that has been aided by the Internet over the years. This kind of offense implies illegal breaking into computer systems. Internet has enhanced this crime and currently, one can hack IP addresses to commit identity theft. Another example of cybercrime is phishing. The term means attempting to obtain confidential information like usernames and credit card details by pretending to be a trustworthy source. The Web enables at best remote access to such sites and information (Oak, 2013). The final example is cyber stalking, which is using communication technology to threaten and stalk people. The Internet allows to commit this crime all over the world. The use of social media like Facebook and Twitter gives perpetrators an opportunity to find victims and information on them.
In today's society, a number of crimes have been transformed. Crimes like fraud, identity theft, kidnapping, assault, murder and cybercrimes were previously non-digital. For instance, identity theft is the most serious type of fraud. It entails stealing money and obtaining other benefits through the use of false identity. The Internet has made it easy for criminals to pretend to be someone else and commit crimes. Furthermore, kidnapping is an ongoing issue, and victims are often identified via the social Web. Therefore, cybercrimes have leaped a step ahead with the fast development of the Internet. Apparently, new software is easily accessed via the World Wide Web.
Viruses, phishing and malicious codes are widely used today to commit a number of crimes such as safe hacking and credit card theft (Oak, 2013). These viruses and codes are computer programs that can be embedded in computer systems without the owner knowing about it. The codes can spread through the Internet to other users on that network. The viruses are mere codes made with the aim of destroying and stealing critical data. Phishing, on the other hand, is illegal obtaining of passcodes and credit card information. This crime can imply stalking, murder and even kidnapping.
The Internet is, therefore, a key tool in aiding crime in today’s world. Crimes range from cyber stalking, identity theft to hacking and spreading of computer viruses (Darlington, 2006). The Internet has increased the crime rate in the current world. Moreover, it has opened a number of doors to criminals, encouraging cyber terrorism, cyber stalking and murder among others. Internet acts as a benchmark for all types of crime in the world today. However, the Internet still possesses a good part as it gives an easy access to a large selection of information on everything.