Summary: The term cyber crime involves using computers and Internet by individuals to commit crime. Common types of cyber crimes include cyber terrorism, identity theft and spam. In this article, we take a look at the major causes and effects of cyber crimes in Nigeria as well as ways of combating the menace. Our findings reveal that some of the factors responsible for cyber crimes in Nigeria include urbanization, unemployment and weak implementation of cyber crime laws. On the other hand, some of the effects of cyber crimes on organizations, the society and the country in general include waste of production time, damage to the image of the country, and reducing the competitive edge of organizations. Finally, we make some recommendations towards minimizing or completely eradicating cyber crimes.
The term ‘cyber crime’ is a term with two words ‘Cyber’ which describes an idea as part of the computer and Information age and ‘crime’ which describes any activity that contravenes legal procedure mostly performed by individuals with a criminal motive.
Hence, cyber crimes can be defined as “offenses 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 to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones”. Cyber crimes may threaten a nation’s security and financial health.
Cyber crime can simply be explained as crimes carried out with the aid of a computer system. It is important to note that Cyber crime is a worldwide problem that’s costing countries billions of dollars.
In Nigeria, cyber crimes are perform by people of all ages ranging from young to old, but in most instances the young. Several youth in Nigeria engage in cyber crime with the aim of emerging as the best hacker, or as a profit making.
Unfortunately, a large number of young people in Nigeria now see Cyber crimes or internet fraud as a source of livelihood.
In this section, we highlight some of the types of cyber crimes in Nigeria.
This refers to the process of launching an attack on government or organization in order to distort and or access stored information stored on the computer and their networks.
The aim of a cyber terrorist is to intimidate a government or to instill fear by accessing and distorting any useful information in organizations or Government bodies using Computer and Internet is generally referred to as Cyber Terrorism.
Cyber extortion is another form of cyber terrorism in which a website, e-mail server, computer systems is put under attacks by hackers for denial of services, demanding for ransom in return.
Fraud is a criminal activity in which someone pretends to be somebody and retrieve vital information about someone. Here, someone gains access to your personal information and use it for his own benefit. In Nigeria people design web links forms requesting users to fill in their basic information including, unique details like pin numbers and use that to commit crimes.
Another type of Cyber Crime is Drug Trafficking; it is a global trade involving cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition law.
Drug traffickers are increasingly taking advantage of the Internet to sell their illegal substances through encrypted e-mail and other Internet Technology.
Malware refers to viruses, Trojans, worms and other software that gets onto your computer without you being aware it’s there.
This refers to the act of using the Internet to repeatedly harass another person. This harassment could be sexual in nature, or it could have other motivations including anger.
This refers to the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. A person who creates electronic spam is called a spammer.
A typical logic bomb tells the computer to execute a set of instructions at a certain date and time or under certain specified conditions. The instructions may tell the entire system to start erasing itself. Logic bombs often work in tandem with viruses.
In this section, we discuss some the major causes of cyber crime in Nigeria
This is one of the causes of Cyber crime in Nigeria. Urbanization refers to the massive physical growth of urban areas as a result of rural migration in search for a better life.
This results in a heavy competition amongst the growing populace who may turn to cyber crime for survival. This people are popularly called “Yahoo Boys”.
Urbanization remains one of the major causes of cyber crime in Nigeria and Urbanization will be beneficial if and only if good jobs can be created in the cities where population growth is increasing.
Cyber crime can be associated with high rate of unemployment, harsh economic conditions, and poor educational system.
The unemployment rate in Nigeria is alarmingly high. According to the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria has about 41 per cent unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2018.
A majority of Nigerian youth are unemployed. There is an adage that says “an idle mind is the devils workshop”, as such most of our youth will use their time and knowledge as a platform for their criminal activity, in order to earn a living.
Another cause of cyber crime in Nigeria is greed and lust for wealth. The income inequality in Nigeria is glaring. Obviously, there exist a large gap between the rich and the average; as such many strive to level up using the quickest means possible.
Weak laws regarding cyber criminals exist in Nigeria, unlike other criminals such as armed robbers are treated with maximum penalties.
Unfortunate the nation is not well equipped with sophisticated hardware to track down the virtual forensic criminals.
The nation’s law enforcement agencies are inadequately equipped in terms of personnel, intelligence and infrastructure, and the private sector is also lagging behind in curbing cyber crime.
Unfortunately, today many parents transmits crime values to their wards, via socialization transmitted to the younger generation. Imagine a situation where the child supplies the father with vital information to wreck individual’s banks account using the computer system, while the mother impersonates the account holder/owner at the bank. If this culture is imbibed among the younger generations most of them will see no wrong in cyber crime practices.
Computer crimes over the years have cost a lot of havoc to individuals, private and public business organization within and outside the country, causing a lot of financial and physical damage.
Due to cyber crime, there has being loss of billions of dollars annually globally speaking, such crimes may threaten a nation’s security and financial health, a company can suffer losses due to computer crime when a hacker steals confidential information and future plans of the company. And he simply sells the information to a competitor company; this will automatically reduce the competitive strength of the company.
Wastage of time is another problem because many IT personals may spend a lot of time in handling, rectifying harmful incidents which may be caused by computer criminals. The time spent should have earned a profit to the organization.
One peculiar problem is that, when a hacker enter in an organization and steals confidential information from the company the people who entrust the company loses their confidence in the company as the company may contains confidential information like credit cards of customers and as the information is stolen the customer will not trust the company again and will move to someone else who could protect their confidential information.
Cyber crime reduces the productivity of a company, as a company will take measure to reduce cybercrime, by entering more password or other acts this will take time to do and therefore will affect productivity. Computer crime will increase the cost as to stop viruses and malware companies must buy strong security software to reduce the chances of attacks from such attacks.
The high level of cyber crime in the nation continues to tarnish the image of Nigerians.
It is impossible to completely eliminate cyber crime; however, collaborative efforts of individuals, corporate organization and government could go a long way reduce it to a minimal level.
The following are some of the measures that can reduce cyber crime in Nigeria:
First, there is the need for laws to enforce property rights work only when property owners take reasonable steps to protect their property. This is because, even where laws are adequate, firms dependent on the network must make their own Network, Information and computer systems secured. And where enforceable laws are absent, as in most countries like Nigeria, this responsibility is even more significant.
Second, there is the need for the Nigerian government to ensure that its laws apply to cyber crimes. It is important that Nigeria take measures to ensure that its penal and procedural law is adequate to meet the challenges posed by cyber crimes. The Government must ensure laws are formulated and strictly adhered to.
Third, there is the need for individuals to observe simple rules. Individuals need to ensure proper anti-malware protection on their computer systems. Moreover, people ought to avoid pirated software, avoid sharing their Personal Identification Number(PIN), bank account, email access code to unknown persons; avoid disclosing any confidential information to anybody. People need to ignore any e-mail requiring any financial information and report particularly evil spam to the appropriate authorities.
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