Academic journal article Connections : The Quarterly Journal

Cyberspace as the Environment Affected by Organized Crime Activity

Academic journal article Connections : The Quarterly Journal

Cyberspace as the Environment Affected by Organized Crime Activity

Article excerpt


As society develops, a broad range of types of crime is emerging, encompassing both individual and organized crime. Criminal methods, and the ways in which crime is organized, are directly related to the technological development of society. For this reason, crime is evolving and is increasingly shifting its activity to cyberspace, progressing hand-in-hand with the development of information and communication technologies (ICT), as used in the realm of cyberspace, which is a widely understood concept. This applies both to individual crimes and, increasingly, to organized crime as well. Cyberspace has become the perfect environment for committing crimes as well as for enabling new ways in which to run organized crime and manage new forms of competition for influence. This mainly occurs with regard to the impact of information, both on enemy criminal organizations (competing with each other) and on governments and international institutions combating organized crime. Interactions of this nature bear the hallmarks of a conflict or war for influence conducted in cyberspace, aimed at creating a positive image of a criminal organization, misleading the institutions combating crime and destroying potential competition - and all via the means of information interaction. The scale of this phenomenon will grow as the information society develops and interaction with it will take a variety of forms, both logical and kinetic.

Therefore, it is critically important to identify the forms, methods and impact of organized crime in cyberspace, as well as ways to combat it. There will be conflicts in cyberspace, bearing the hallmarks of war, and characterized by asymmetrically weighted opponents, unlimited reach, unknown consequences, and unidentified objectives on the part of the rival.

Conflicts in cyberspace will differ in character from the well-known conflicts of the past. This follows the commonly used saying that every age has its own war, consistent with the level of technological and social development. Indeed, this can be observed in the ways in which war is conducted and the measures which are taken during that war. Access to information stored, processed and transmitted via cyberspace has given society a new quality of life, making possible various social functions that were mere star-gazing and fantasy in the nottoo-distant past. It manifests itself not only in the rapid development of society, but also has a considerable economic dimension, as shown by the reduction in the cost of the functioning of society while accelerating the implementation of this functioning.

On the one hand, these technologies enable the development of new social forms while, on the other, they raise legitimate concerns regarding their use. The best examples of the impact of modern technology on the functioning of society include the Internet blocks put in place in Estonia in 2007 and in Georgia in 2008. This new dimension, namely, cyberspace, will have a huge impact on the functioning of society, the course of future conflicts and the ways in which organized crime functions. The scope and impact of the competition are mere estimates, based on the above-mentioned examples.

The primary aim of this article is to identify possible ways in which organized crime interacts and competes in cyberspace as well as ways in which it can be combated by governments and international institutions.

In terms of the activities of organized crime and its impact on global society, it is important to identify the nature of contemporary conflicts and define the very essence of war because the cyberspace activities of organized criminal groups bear the specific hallmarks of a war for influence and profit maximization. The war itself, as a social phenomenon, in the present terms, is difficult to define. It consists of various factors related to, among other things, the incredible acceleration of global economic development, population growth, and political changes in the international arena. …

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