Cybercrime from a multidisciplinary and societal perspective

Understanding cybercrime as a multidisciplinary phenomenon and recognizing the significant impact of social and economic factors are crucial steps towards developing effective prevention and mitigation strategies. By addressing the root causes and employing a comprehensive approach that spans multiple disciplines, societies can better protect themselves against the evolving threat of cybercrime.

Cybercrime as a Multidisciplinary Phenomenon

Cybercrime, a complex and evolving challenge, requires a multidisciplinary approach for its effective understanding and combat. This approach integrates knowledge and methodologies from various fields, each contributing a unique perspective on the nature of cybercrime, its causes, and possible solutions.

Criminology offers theories about criminal behavior and the social repercussions of crimes. It provides frameworks for understanding the motivations behind cybercrimes, such as the routine activity theory, which suggests that the likelihood of a crime occurring is related to the presence of motivated offenders, suitable targets, and the absence of capable guardians.

Computer science and cybersecurity focus on the technical aspects of preventing and responding to cyber attacks. Innovations in intrusion detection systems (IDS), firewalls, and encryption are crucial for protecting digital infrastructure and information from unauthorized access and damage.

Psychology examines the behaviors and individual traits that predispose people to commit cybercrimes or become victims. It explores concepts like online identity, the perception of anonymity, and the psychological effects of cyberbullying and online harassment.

Sociology looks at cybercrime from a social perspective, investigating how social structures, relationships, and inequalities influence cybercrime trends. It also studies the impact of cybercrime on communities and social norms.

Economics assesses the financial motivations underlying cybercrime, including the pursuit of illegal profits through scams, fraud, and other computer-related crimes. It also examines the economic impact of cybercrime on businesses, individuals, and national economies.

Political Science and Law address the regulatory and governance challenges posed by cybercrime. This includes developing legal frameworks to criminalize and prosecute cybercrimes, as well as international cooperation to combat cybercrime across borders.

Social and Economic Factors

The relationship between social and economic factors and cybercrime is significant, as these elements provide both the motives and means for cybercriminal activities.

Social Factors:

  • Education and awareness: High levels of education and awareness about cybersecurity can both facilitate and deter cybercrime. Educated individuals may possess the skills necessary for cybercrime but also be more aware of cybersecurity practices.
  • Cultural and social norms: Societies with norms that discourage illegal activities may have lower rates of cybercrime. Conversely, in environments where law enforcement is weak or corruption is high, cybercrime can thrive.
  • Social inequality: Regions with pronounced social inequality may experience higher rates of cybercrime, as individuals turn to illegal online activities as a means of economic survival or expression of discontent.

Economic Factors:

  • Economic development: Economically developed regions with advanced ICT infrastructures are attractive targets for cybercriminals due to their potential for economic gain. However, these regions may also have better resources for combating cybercrime.
  • Unemployment and poverty: High unemployment rates and poverty may drive individuals towards cybercrime as an alternative source of income, exploiting the low cost of entry and perceived anonymity of the Internet.
  • Globalization and e-commerce: The expansion of online businesses and transactions has created new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit, such as fraud, identity theft, and unauthorized access to data.

Chen, S., Hao, M., Ding, F., Jiang, D., Dong, J., Zhang, S., Guo, Q., & Gao, C. (2023). Exploring the global geography of cybercrime and its driving forces. Humanities & Social Sciences Communications10(1).