Unformatted text preview: The Criminology of Computer Crime
CyberCrime Causes Computer Crime Theories Taylor book, Chapter3 Criminological theories Choice theory Deterrence theory Psychological theory Social structure theory Social process theory What is a theory? A theory is an attempt to answer the
question "Why?". Theories will be presented that attempt to answer the question "Why do individuals commit digital crime?" Choice Theory An individual commits a crime because
that person makes a Rational Choice to do so by weighing the risks and benefits of committing the act. Cost/benefit analysis Costs/Risks: apprehension/detection, punishment, reputation Rewards/Benefits: property acquired, vengeance, reputation Choice Theory The theory became popular in the late
1970s for three reasons. The positive school began to be questioned. The positive school was based on the belief that crime-producing traits and factors could be isolated. The reported crime rate in the 1960s and 1970s increased significantly. The practice of rehabilitation came under attack. Routine Activities Theory Based on Rational Choice Crime explained by confluence of all three. All three factors must be present in order for a crime to occur.
Motivated perpetrator (a hacker) Vulnerable target (a computer system) The absence of a capable guardian/enforcement (inadequate software protection, detection &/or prevention) Apply to digital crime The rapid expansion of the use of
computers and the Internet has increased the number of available targets. (a person in Egypt can hack into a computer in US) There is frequently a lack of capable guardians to protect people from digital crime. Deterrence Theory Derived from Choice Theory Criminals make conscious & rational choice weighing factors Calculus: Probability/Magnitude Undesirability of Punishment & probability meted out Do Not Commit: ex ante perceived punishment risks
outweigh crime's perceived benefits Commit - ex ante perceived punishment risks outweighed by crime's perceived benefits Threat of Punishment Deters Crime Two types of deterrence Two types of deterrence General deterrence seeks to discourage would-be offenders from committing criminal acts because of the threat of punishment. Example: An 18th century judge told a defendant, "You are to be hanged not because you have stolen a sheep but in order that others may not steal sheep." Specific deterrence is designed to impose a sanction on a convicted offender in order to prevent them from continuing to commit criminal acts in the future. The sanction should be distasteful to the offender so they do not want to commit any more acts. Apply to digital crime Many digital criminals are rational actors. Many digital criminals do not know the potential penalties they
face for a particular crimes. Why? If potential computer criminals believe that the certainty of arrest in high from computer crime, then they will be deterred from committing the offense even there is little chance of arrest in reality. There is minimal evidence to support the argument that the threat of arrest and punishment deters criminals. In fact, evidence supports the contention that informal sanction from parents and friends serve as more of a deterrent than legal sanctions. Fearing disapproval from your parents and peers for your actions is more likely to keep individuals from committing those acts than the fear of arrest and punishment. Psychological Theories Moral Development & Crime Personality Disorders Pedophiles Moral development & crime Cognitive development theory assumes
that individuals develop in a sequential manner. Crime can be explained by arrested development of moral reasoning at certain stages. People stop at a certain stage and do not progress any further. Koholberg's six stages
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Punishment & Obedience Orientation - what is right is obedience to power and rules and avoiding punishment. Hedonistic Orientation - right corresponds to seeing one's own needs met, taking responsibility for oneself, and allowing others to do the same. Interpersonal Concordance - right is having good intentions and motives, and being concerned for others. Law & Order Orientation right is doing one's duty to society and others, and maintaining the rules of society. Social Contract, Legalistic Orientation right is based on upholding the rules and values agreed upon by society. Orientation to Universal Ethical Principles Orientation right is an assumed obligation to principles such as justice and equality which apply to all individuals. The individual recognizes the moral rightness of behavior. Where do criminals stop in moral development? The first two stages are usually completed by
age 7. stage 3 and 4 are passed through and completed from preadolescence through adolescence, while the last two stages begin in early adulthood. Research has found that criminals frequently fall into stages 1 or 2 while noncriminals frequently fall into stage 3 or 4. Where do criminals stop in moral development? In stage 1, children comply with authority out of fear.
Something is viewed as morally right if punishment is avoided. An individual who did not progress through this stage will think that their criminal behavior is permissible as long as they are not punished for it. In stage 2, children define what is right as that which satisfies their needs. Children define something as right if they are not punished for it and it satisfies their needs. It's not until stage 3 that children begin to take into account the feelings of others. Development to stage 3 insulates people from crime because they have become concerned about others, not just their needs. Personal disorders Psychologists augue that certain personality
characteristics of an individual may influence crime. Personality refers to the emotional and behavioral attributes of an individual. Extroversion, impulsivity, lack of self-control, hostility, resentment, suspicion of others, destructiveness, less fearful of failure, ambivalence toward authority, assertiveness, and feeling unappreciated. Antisocial personality disorder Repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest Deceitfulness Impulsivity Irritability and aggressiveness Reckless disregard for safety of self or others Consistent irresponsibility Lack of remorse. Pedophiles and psychological theory What combination of factors lead a person to
want to commit sexual offenses against a child? Pedophiles develop a sexual interest over a long period of time. Pedophiles are exposed to some type of sexual abuse or trauma during their childhood. They have some type of abuse or other related problem during their sexual development. Conundrum The Internet serves many purposes for the
pedophile of today, the least of which is the dissemination of child pornography. This poses a conundrum for theorists: which comes first an interest in computers due to existing pedophiliac interests or an interest in pedophilia as a result of viewing thess types of images online? Social Structure Theories When originally developed, social structure theories
focused on why lower class individuals are more likely to commit crime than middle and upper class individuals. Modifications and expansions have moved away from this distinction and have attempted to explain criminal behavior by all social classes. These theories focus on socioeconomic conditions and cultural values as two prominent factors that impact crime. This is important in the study of digital crime because many offenders come from the middle and upper classes. Strain Theory Strain Theory Economic hardships & unequal opportunities incentivize crime while US cultural of achievement frustrates the disadvantaged Strain theorists saw crime as a result of a lack of opportunity, in particular economic opportunity. The society instills in citizens a desire for financial success but does not provide all individuals equal opportunity to achieve that success. Those who do not have an equal opportunity are strained and thus more likely to be criminal. Merton: Strain Theory The cultural goal of American society is
economic success. Along with the goal, there are institutionalized means to obtain the goal such as education, occupation. However, not everyone has equal access to the institutionalized means to obtain financial success. Members of lower class have less access to education and good jobs. Five modes of adaptation Conformity a conformist both accepts the cultural goal of
economic success and accepts the institutionalized means to obtain it. A conformist is highly unlikely to commit criminal acts. It's also the most common mode of adaptation. Ritualism a ritualist rejects the cultural goal of economic success but accepts the institutionalized means to obtain the cultural goal. They have lowered their aspiration for financial success but still abide by the means to obtain it, such as employment and education. It's unlikely that a ritualist will commit criminal acts as well. Innovation an innovator accepts the goal of economic success but rejects the institutionalized means to obtain it. The individual innovates new means to obtain economic success besides education and employment, such as computer crime, fraud, drug dealing, robbery, burglary, auto theft, bribery, prostitution. Five modes of adaptation Retreatism a retreatist rejects both the cultural goal of economic success and institutionalized means to obtain it. These individuals frequently escape into drug addiction and may commit crimes to support their drug use but they do not aspire to financial success. Rebellion a rebel rejects both the cultural goal and means but substitutes new goals and means to obtain them. This adaptation is likely to lead to crime and can be represented by some gangs, militias, cults, and counter-cultures. White-collar crime and strain theory What is white collar crime? Individuals who engage in such schemes can be
viewed as "innovators" who pursue illegitimate means to achieve the conventional goal of material success. Contemporary strain theorists extended strain theory to explain the instrumental crimes of middle- and high-class individuals by defining "relative deprivation." White-collar crimes White-collar crimes such as money
laundering, corporate espionage, and Internet fraud fit neatly into the strain theory. Individuals who already enjoy a certain degree of monetary success may engage in instrumental crimes because the perceive goal blockage in their attempt to secure ever-increasing wealth. Hacker The "nerd boom" of IT age are created an
alternative means to social approval. Hacker T-shirt: "Stop laughing, computers are cool now" Subculture theory A subculture is a set of values, norms, and
beliefs that differ from the dominant culture. Criminals hold values, norms, and beliefs that are in opposition to those held in the dominant culture. Original subculture theories attempted to explain gang formation and crime. Certain types and examples of computer crime can be due to the existence of subcultures. Cohen: delinquency and frustration theory Cloward and Ohlin: differential opportunity theory Delinquency and frustration theory Cohen believed that individuals from the lower class had different values, norms and beliefs than members of the middle class. Lower class youth face developmental handicaps which place them at a disadvantage to obtain their goal of middle class membership. Lack of education preparation Middle class measuring rods: ambition, responsibility, courtesy, constructive use of time. Status frustration: inability to obtain the goal of middle class status. The juvenile starts to associate with others who are failing in school and facing status frustration. These youth form delinquent subcultures and gangs. They develop new norms, values to abide by and establish new means to obtain status. They will do the opposite of what the middle class values, valuing what is abhorred by the middle class. Differential opportunity theory There are two goals that lower class youth pursue:
economic success and/or middle class membership. Youth who had little ability to achieve these goals through legitimate means would form delinquent subcultures/gangs to obtain the goals. The legitimate opportunity structure involves education, hard work, and a good occupation. The illegitimate opportunity structure includes stable criminal enterprises in neighborhoods (crime mentors) Subculture of marijuana-smoking jazz musicians: the jazz subculture does not deny the marijuana is illegal; rather, they rely on a common justification that marijuana relaxes them and improves their music (pursuit of a higher goal). Hacker subculture Hacking would not considered an instinctive activity. The
act of hacking requires elaborate preparation, resources, and extensive knowledge, often obtained through socialization within the hacker subculture. The hacker subculture provides a way to understand a very abstract action as personally rewarding. Hackers seem to experience a feeling of power and control not found in real life. "defacing a site to me is showing the admins, government [and others] that go to the site that we own them. They wouldn't even know we were in [their system], if we didn't deface [them]." Social process theories Social process theories focus on the relationship
between socialization and crime. They analyze the impact of certain factors such as peer group relationships, family relationships, and failure in school on crime. Individuals who associate with criminal peers are at significant risk of committing crime themselves. Individuals who were brought up in an unmurmuring, dysfunctional family are at greater risk of committing crime. Social Process Theories Learning Theory
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. criminal disposition learned from family, friends Learning through interaction & communication Learned from intimate personal groups Learned: motive & means/methods ... Search for crime avoidance conditions (bonded to society, reputation, self-control) Social Control Theory presumes bad actors Virus writers and social process theories Who engage in virus writing? There is no common profile of a "typical"
virus writer. A virus writer could be a kid or a 35-year-old programmer. Limit the explanatory power of social structure theories. Not all virus writers are in it for the money or for the fame. Virus writer What is undeniable in the development of
a virus is that a certain level of technical competency is required. No one become a virus writer overnight. All virus writers must learn how to write and propagate viruses. The learning process is similar to any other process. Most of the learning takes place in chat rooms, on bulletin boards, and via distance learning. Virus writers Competition and bravado play an
important role in conditioning the person. Virus writers who have programmed a "quality" virus found fame and fortune as the result of their prowess abound. Other virus writers achieve fame because their virus infects a large number of computers and makes in into the media spotlight. Techniques of neutralization A common statement by virus writers is that it is the
computer user's or system's fault that they were infected. They tend to disdain for the average "Internet surfer". They think they aren't really doing any harm and, in fact, are performing a public service by pointing out the security holes in the software and systems. They are really doing good by showing the greed and incompetence of software vendors (especially Microsoft). Virus writers Choice theory Criminological theories Routine activities Deterrence theory Psychological theory Moral development and crime Personality disorders Pedophiles and psychological theory Social structure theory Strain theory White collar crime Subculture theory Social process theory Group activity Three Cases from Cybercrime.gov Which theories do you think applies best to these cases? Need six groups One case worked by two groups Post your answers to Angel. Get one bonus point. ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/31/2008 for the course SRA 211 taught by Professor Luyong during the Spring '08 term at Penn State.
- Spring '08