By Kiki TAGOE
One of the many privileges of the internet is the initiative of creating a global platform for buying and selling goods as well as the convenience of mediating important business transactions. This has led to the introduction of e-commerce.
E-Commerce sites are web pages where virtual business transactions are facilitated. It is one of the reasons why physical markets are becoming obsolete as everyone is drawing to the digital screen. But as nothing good comes without drawbacks, virtual businesses have their disadvantages or ills.
Cybercrime is one of the biggest issues virtual businesses face. It is an e-crime which includes criminal acts such as computer viruses, phishing, and denial of service attacks that cause e-commerce websites to lose revenues.
Unlike traditional crime, cybercrime can take many forms and can occur anytime or at any place. The only difference between traditional crime and cybercrime is that in cybercrime, computers or computer networks are used to complete the crime, or are the target of the crime. The computer or device may be the agent of the crime, the co-coordinator of the crime, or the aim of the crime.
The crime may take place on an individual computer or in addition to computers at other locations.
Criminals committing cybercrime use a number of methods, depending on their skill and their goal. Cybercrime is, after all, merely ‘crime’ with some sort of ‘computer’ or ‘cyber’ aspect.
The impacts, among others, are that e-commerce companies or virtual businesses lose billions of dollars and Ghana Cedis in lost business, stolen assets, and damaged reputations as a result of cybercrime (Smith et al. 2010). Cash is stolen, literally with the push of a button.
Vulnerability to cybercrime may cause some customers to lose confidence in a company’s ability to accurately process sales transactions and effectively protect confidentiality.
Stated below are various cybercrimes affecting the virtual society:
- Malicious code under which we find virus, worms, Trojan horses, bots, etc.
- Phishing and identity theft which is the illegal online attempt to gain personal information for financial gain.
- Credit Card Theft/Fraud occurs when credit card information is stolen from corporate data stores.
- Spoofing is where one masquerades as someone else.
- Sniffing is an eavesdrop program used by government surveillance agencies and telecom agencies to identify network bottlenecks but by criminal elements to obtain property information.
- System Failures occur when design flaws in server or client software provide points of weakness which hackers and criminals periodically exploit.
- Software Piracy refers to the illegal copying of genuine programs and includes copyright infringement, trademarks and patent violations, theft of computer source code etc.
These are few of the many cyber threats online businesses face.
Cybercrimes have started to create a fear in the minds of many people linked to the networks.
In order to safeguard the present success of e-commerce or virtual business transactions, ICT laws need to be regularly reviewed in order to save the internet society from cyber criminals and privacy invaders.