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CYBERCRIME : A CASE STUDY OF GOMBIA LOCAL GOVERNMENT
The Global Information Infrastructure creates unlimited opportunities for commercial, social and other human activities. However, it is increasingly under attack by cybercriminals; as the number, cost, and sophistication of attacks are increasing at an alarming rate. This study sets out to examine the sociological and technological factors that impact cybercrime and cybersecurity and thereby articulates the relevant circumstances and threats of cybercrime in Nigeria. The study approached the issue of cybercrime from theoretical and investigative points of views. Structured interviews with law enforcement agencies and governmental institution for cyber security were also conducted. Data obtained through these research instruments were subjected to descriptive analysis and frequency counts in order to explain the activities of Nigerian cybercriminals based on existing theories of crime, and to understand their intents, purposes and methods. Four theories of crime, namely, Structural Functionalism Theory, Marxian Theory, Routine Activity Theory and Technology Enabled Crime Theory were all found to be relevant to Nigerian cybercrime. At the level of existing laws, the study established that there are no existing laws in the Nigerian statues that directly address cybercrime.
The aim of this study was to examine the perception of cybercrime among Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area using Gombe local government area as a study. In this research study, we found out people’s reaction to messages depends mainly on how it is perceived. To achieve the aim o the study, literature was reviewed. Survey research method was used in which questionnaire, the major instrument, was distributed to various respondents in the execution of the study. Samples were selected using the systematic random sampling techniques. Chi-square and simple percentages was used in analyzing data. Internet is used as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming activities was the finding drawn. Finally, Cyber laws should be made to govern the country’s cyber space and give the nation’s adequate cyber security was the recommendation gotten based on the finding drawn.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Computer crime, or Cybercrime, refers to any crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target. Netcrime is criminal exploitation of the Internet. Dr. Debarati Halder and Dr. K. Jaishankar (2011) define Cybercrimes as: “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 to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (SMS/MMS)”. Such crimes may threaten a nation’s security and financial health. Issues surrounding these types of crimes have become high-profile, particularly those surrounding cracking, copyright infringement, child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is lost or intercepted, lawfully or otherwise.
An Australian nationwide survey conducted in 2006 found that two in three convicted cyber-criminals were between the ages of 15 and 26.
Internationally, both governmental and non-state actors engage in cybercrimes, including espionage, financial theft, and other cross-border crimes. Activity crossing international borders and involving the interests of at least one nation state is sometimes referred to as cyber warfare. The international legal system is attempting to hold actors accountable for their actions through the International Criminal Court.
Cybercrime is criminal activity done using computers and the Internet. This includes anything from downloading illegal music files to stealing millions of dollars from online bank accounts. Cybercrime also includes non-monetary offenses, such as creating and distributing viruses on other computers or posting confidential business information on the Internet.
Perhaps the most prominent form of cybercrime is identity theft, in which criminals use the Internet to steal personal information from other users. Two of the most common ways this is done is through phishing and pharming. Both of these methods lure users to fake websites (that appear to be legitimate), where they are asked to enter personal information. This includes login information, such as usernames and passwords, phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other information criminals can use to “steal” another person’s identity. For this reason, it is smart to always check the URL or Web address of a site to make sure it is legitimate before entering your personal information.
Because cybercrime covers such a broad scope of criminal activity, the examples above are only a few of the thousands of crimes that are considered cybercrimes. While computers and the Internet have made our lives easier in many ways, it is unfortunate that people also use these technologies to take advantage of others. Therefore, it is smart to protect yourself by using antivirus and spyware blocking software and being careful where you enter your personal information.
There is no doubt that cybercrime is an image nightmare for Nigeria. The recent decision of President Olusegun Obasanjo to setup a working group, the Nigeria Cyber Crime Working Group (NCWG) (http://www.jidaw.com/itsolutions/security5.html) is an indication that cybercrime, especially Internet 419 is a source of concern and embarrassment. According to media reports in Nigeria, a bill is presently being prepared to deal specifically with the menace of cybercrime. The Internet creates unlimited opportunities for commercial, social and educational activities. But as we can see with cybercrime the net introduces its own peculiar risks. What is the menace cybercrime poses to society? The convenience associated with IT and the Internet is now being exploited to serve criminal purposes. Cybercrime covers Internet fraud not just online 419 – the use of computers and or the Internet to commit crime. Computer-assisted crime includes e-mail scams, hacking, distribution of hostile software (viruses and worms), denial of service attacks, theft of data, extortion, fraud and impersonation. Cyber crime uses the unique features of the Net – sending of e-mail in seconds, speedy publication/ dissemination of information through the web to anyone on the planet. Computer attacks can be generated by criminals from anywhere in the world, and executed in other areas, irrespective of geographic location. And often these criminal activities can be faster, easier and more damaging with the use of the Internet. Since the loss suffered by consumers and investors creates serous credibility and image problems, many countries develop strategies for preventing, detecting and containing the threats associated with cybercrime. While it is acknowledged that greed is a major factor motivating most victims, what about the image created for many who never respond?
How is the nation fighting cyber crime? It’s interesting that there is quite a lot of talk about fighting cyber crime. But what are the efforts? And how effective are they? Since there is an awareness of the menace it poses to society, what have been the sincere and meaningful efforts to fight cybercrime? For one are the security agencies enlightened enough? When you talk of efforts, you have to ask again: what have the security agencies done? How much has been invested in terms of time, education, personnel, etc? Are such efforts assessable or meaningful? Fighting cybercrime requires not just IT knowledge but IT intelligence on the part of the security agencies. In this clime, there is an IT security divide – a serious shortage of skills to deal with the threats associated with IT. Shouting and moaning about cybercrime isn’t enough. All the talk is meaningless unless the gap is closed. Security agencies need to be equipped with the skills, the know-how and the insight necessary to fight cybercrime effectively. While resources are needed to fight the menace, it is imperative to avoid the misdirected approach of “throwing money” at the problem. Invest based on priorities and strategies. Such policies must be based on knowledge. Knowledge not just for the operatives, but also for those that will commit resources. For example, do the decision makers have any REAL, PRACTICAL appreciation of technology, not to talk of cybercrime? What is their take on the basics of information security in today’s high-tech, business environment? The cybercriminals seem to have the technology advantage.
Essentially cybercrime is information and intelligence based activity. You cannot fight cybercrime with ignorance, strong directives or boastful talk.
To fight cybercrime, those involved have to spend time to learn how cybercrime operates and then devise strategies to fight the menace. And note that learning in IT is not one-off but lifelong.
How strong are the security agencies in the fundamentals of IT? You cannot fight today’s crime with yesterday’s technology. It will always be a losing battle if security professionals are way behind the cyber criminals in terms of tech knowledge. It’s not just about computing skills, but IT Security expertise (http://www.jidaw.com/certarticles/securitycerts.html) is essential.
Fighting cybercrime requires a holistic approach, not just addressing the cyber cafés alone. What is the culture towards cybercrime? All stakeholders should be involved. Security agencies should liaise with industry stakeholders. There is a need to create a security-aware culture involving the public, the ISPs, cybercafes, government, security agencies and Internet users. There must be education about the problems, risks and solutions. Existing and potential victims need to be considered. Greed and unrealistic expectations are major problems. “If an offer is too good to be true, don’t believe it”.
Furthermore, legislation needs to keep pace with e-crime, especially as it becomes more prevalent and sophisticated. Apart from awareness and culture, security measures (technical and non technical) will need to be put in place and enforced, as part of the solutions. This might involve raising penalties and increasing the seriousness of e-offences. The right culture should create a high level of awareness amongst stakeholders. Who are the main actors involved? Cyber cafés are not the only source of cyber crime. Apart from the Internet, what are the causes – both historical and current – for the continued rise in cybercrime activity? Can cybercrime be divorced from the widespread corruption in society? Or the harsh economic climate, high unemployment? Disregard for the rule of law and lack of transparency and accountability in governance certainly doesn’t help matters. There is no justification for crime but to the populace, who is perceived as the criminal? Which is the bigger crime: corruption in high places or cybercrime? Heavier punishments and enlightenment, closing down cyber cafés, issuing draconian directives may therefore not be meaningful without addressing the causes. To fight crime you attack the causes of crime.
Also in terms of strategy, it is crucial to thoroughly address issues relating to enforcement. Mishandling of enforcement can backfire. Enforcement can only work if it avoids harassment, abuse of privacy and extortion. Care must be taken not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Don’t create a situation where genuine users of the Internet are frustrated out and unable to benefit from the Internet.
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
The internet creates unlimited opportunities for commer-cial, social and other human activities. But with cyber-crime the Internet introduces its own peculiar risks. What are the menace cybercrime and cybersecurity threats poses to Nigeria?
Waziri (2009) spoke about the dreadful level of corruption as being a threat to Vision 20:2020. Cyber-crime is an obstacle that may shut the door of progress against the nation. This was why Aluko (2004) gave seventeen (17) ways of stopping financial corruption in Nigeria. One of these crimes according to him has to do with cybercrimes. The global village currently records an increasing criminal behaviour. News of cybercriminal activities continue to fill the pages of the newspaper, it is central to world news and has become a global problem. There is hardly a place where computers and internet facilities are found that cases of crime are not recorded. New modes of operation are developing as the Global System for Mobile-telecommunication (GSM) is now used for browsing. A lot of young people are common among the perpetrators of these criminal activities. They spend hours browsing and sometimes stay awake all night to carry out their nefarious activities. The people involved are mostly found within the ages of fifteen to thirty years.
According to Erhabor (2008), cybercrimes are described as one of the fastest growing criminal activities on the planet. He repeated the fact that it covers a large range of illegal activity including financial scams, com-puter hacking, downloading of pornographic images from the internet, virus attacks, stalking and creating websites that promote hatred. In recent time, young students in the tertiary engage in forgery of all kinds ranging from false admission paper to school fees receipts, certificates racketeering and examination malpractice that is, accessing useful information during examinations through the handset and other electronic devices. Ajao (2008) said Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa top cybercrime in Africa. Nigeria is not spared from the heartache caused by cybercrimes.
The findings above are worrisome and it is in order to curb and proffer solution to the above that the study intends to look at the sociological and technological fac-tors influencing cybercrime and cyber security in Nigeria.
Nigeria according to Wikipedia is said to be 7th largest oil producing country in the world, but nevertheless, the majority of Nigerians are still living in poverty.
Nigeria is also rated amongst one of the most corrupt countries of the world.
Internet usage in Nigeria has grown rapidly resulting in the explosion of Internet Service Providers (ISPS) and Internet Access Point creating an increase in the positive impacts on the socio-economic and educational developments in the country.
Unfortunately, the country’s image has also suffered as a result of the unscripted activities of some Nigerians using the internet as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming activities.
The major implication of the unconscious acceptance of this menace in the Nigerian society in the nearest future has created a high level of disinterest in education and touting among young people.
In Nigeria today, young people mostly youths are the ones who engage in this form of anti-social behaviour for the purpose of living a life of splendour.
In recent times Nigeria has been labelled as a corrupt nation. There is a need for the Nigerian government to do something fast and urgent to curb this menace of cyber crime.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
1. To determine the perception of Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area towards cybercrime.
2. To determine the reason why cybercrime is mostly rampant among Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area.
3. To suggest measures that can be taken by the federal government to curb cybercrime in Nigeria.
3. To find out how Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area perceive cybercrime.
4. To assess the ways federal government can curb the continued spread of cybercrime among Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area and the general public.
5. To ascertain the factors that tends to cause young people’s involvement in cybercrime in Nigeria.
6. To find out if the internet is used as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming
7. To identify informal, sociological and technological causes of cybercrime and cybersecurity in Nigeria.
8. To analyse the approaches adopted by Nigerian law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity stakeholders in combating cybercrime and ensuring cybersecurity.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This research study aims to assess the vulnerability of the Nigerian society is to crime and abuse on computer networks and the Global Information Infrastructure at large.
The study then attempts to answer the following questions:
1. How are Nigeria anti-graft agencies tackling cyber-crime and cyber security threats?
2. How effective and efficient are the efforts of the security agencies in combating cybercrime and ensuring cybersecurity in Nigeria?
3. What can be done to improve the state of cybercrime and cybersecurity in Nigeria?
1. In what way do Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area perceive cybercrime?
2. What are the ways Federal Government can curb the continued spread of cybercrime among Nigerian youth and the general public?
3. Is the internet used as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming activities?
4. What are the factors that tend to cause people’s involvement in cybercrime in Nigeria? 1.6 1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: internet is not used as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming activities.
H1: internet is used as a channel for the perpetration of criminal spamming activities.
H0: the Federal Government cannot curb the continued spread of cybercrime among Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area and the general public.
H2: the Federal Government can curb the continued spread of cybercrime among Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area and the general public.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study, which is primarily aimed at explaining how cybercrime has impacted on the perception of youths in the society, will provide an insight into the problems associated with cybercrime. This report would be of great benefit for youths, to expose them to the factors that tend to cause young people’s involvement in cybercrime in Nigeria.
It would be useful to the government and related stakeholders to enable them adequately understand factors responsible for and how to curb the continue spread of cybercrime among Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area [and the general public].
The findings will be useful for researchers to further generate knowledge in the field.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study focused on the perception of cybercrime among Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area, using students in Gombe local government area as the study group.
A major limitation of the group is the samples were only from Gombe local government area where it was chosen as the area in carrying out this research.
This finding is based on the results gathered from people on the perception of cybercrime among Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Cyber crime: Cyber crime is a fast-growing area of crime. More and more criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the Internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders, either physical or virtual.
Perception: Caritas student’s attitude towards cybercrime among Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area. Cyber: The use of computers, information systems or the internet by the Nigerian youths in Gombe local government area.
Crime: The display of illegal act characterized by decent, contentment or violation of trust of the youths.
Youth: It is when a young person is young especially the time before a child becomes an adult.
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