Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Criminology

Commemorating a Decade in Existence of the International Journal of Cyber Criminology: A Research Agenda to Advance the Scholarship on Cyber Crime

Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Criminology

Commemorating a Decade in Existence of the International Journal of Cyber Criminology: A Research Agenda to Advance the Scholarship on Cyber Crime

Article excerpt


In 2013, approximately 40% of the world population had access to the Internet. There is evidence that the rate of adoption of the Internet doubles every 100 days (Department of Commerce, 1998). A recent search of prior literature also reveals over 30 different types of offenses that fall under the umbrella of cyber crime including hacking, malware, identity theft, online fraud, credit card fraud, spamming, web and email spoofing, dating scam, cyber bullying, harassment and stalking, and distributed denial of service attacks. Accordingly, as the number of people worldwide using the Internet to socialize, access information, and conduct business increases, cyber crime presents significant and increasing threats to Internet users, consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments all over the world. Additionally, as a global criminal phenomenon, cyber crime presents issues and challenges for law enforcement officials and prosecutors who are tasked with investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting cyber criminals.

The financial consequences of cyber crime are also substantial and dire. According to a report by Symantec Corporation, a security software manufacturer, cyber crime is costing the global market an estimate of $110 billion each year. Still, another security software manufacturer, McAfee Incorporated, claims that the true annual cost worldwide from cyber crime is much higher, at around $1 trillion (Hyman, 2013). Although the precise magnitude of the financial cost of cyber crime remains unknown, what is known is that cyber crime is increasing at an increasingly rapid pace (Winmill, Metcalf & Band, 2000).

Interests in cyber crime over the last two decades have culminated in a sizable and growing body of literature. However, there are research gaps in the extant body of knowledge. For instance, there is a lack of reliable and valid statistics on the prevalence, nature, and trends of cyber crime. There is also a dearth of research on the best practices related to combating and preventing cyber crime. In this article, we outline and propose five salient and pertinent areas of inquiry relating to cyber crime for researchers, scholars, and practitioners interested in understanding, combating, and preventing this type of crime. Although our list of suggested topics is by no means represents a comprehensive research agenda, we feel these five areas of inquiry constitute a sufficient basis to advance our knowledge and the scholarship on cyber crime.

Area 1: Defining and Classifying Cybercrime

Currently, a universally agreed-upon definition of cyber crime does not exist. Further, various terminologies are being used interchangeably with the term cyber crime, including computer crime, Internet crime, computer-related crime, online crime, high tech crime, electronic crime, technology crime, and information age crime. To be sure, attempts to define and classify cyber crime have been undertaking by researchers, private businesses, government agencies, and intergovernmental organizations. For instance, the U.S. Department of Justice defines cyber crime as any crime that uses or targets computer networks. The United Kingdom Association of Chief Police Officers classifies cyber crime as any crime facilitated or committed using networked computers, telecommunications, or Internet technology. The Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime delineates cyber crime as offenses ranging from criminal activity against data to content to copyright infringement. Arguably, the most widely adopted definition of cyber crime is: any crime committed using computers, computer networks, or hardware devices (Gordon & Ford, 2006). Also, Haider and Jaishankar (2011) have provided a definition of cyber crime from a holistic perspective:

Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (networks including but not limited to Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (Bluetooth/SMS/MMS). …

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