Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Internet is an international electronic computer network that connects people and information. It is known as a haven for cybercriminals. Cybercrime refers to those criminal activities a castrated through a computer or a network. Social media provides a platform for people to acquaint with one another, share photographs, emails, and even fall in love without actually meeting. Therefore it becomes straightforward for cybercriminals to carry out their activities on this platform. Instagram, Facebook, twitter snap chat, and what’s app are good examples of social media platforms. Due to increased use of social media; companies of all sizes are taking advantage of this and engaging customers and monitoring their sentiments which opens them up to cyber-attacks. Social media enabled cybercrime is generating $ 3.25 billion in legal revenue each year. The following are some of the significant effects of social media on cybercrime.
Firstly, social media has made it easy for cybercriminals to set up fake social media profiles to carry out their criminal activities. Cybercriminals use fake profiles to mimic influential individuals and therefore use these fake profiles to deceive social media user ‘s’ money. Cybercriminals also use fake profiles to lure people into sharing their secret and sensitive information which they use for blackmail. An excellent real-life example is that of Spas Vasilev; who created a fake account to defraud people of their hard-earned money. He posed as a social media star and gained a substantial online following.
Unfortunately, social media also provides an arena for cybercriminals to carry out surveillance. Social media has made it easy for people to access each other’s information. Therefore when someone reveals a lot of his knowledge on his social media profile; he becomes an easy target. Consequently, if an attacker is aiming at a corporation; he will gather information related to one of the employees or a group of employees and then attack their computers. Once a single machine is attacked, accessing the rest becomes very easy. Most organization allows their users to connect to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms. That’s where an attack, even if it is a target at home user can have a significant impact on the workplace. Therefore it would be advisable for people not to expose most of their confidential information on social media.
Besides, social media has led to increased cases of cyberbullying activities. Cyberbullying is when a minor is harassed, tormented, bullied, humiliated, and targeted by another minor. Children usually have lots of free time and many tech toys at their disposal, and this enables the teens to carry out cyberbullying. Children regularly practice cyberbullying for different reasons; some do it for recreation, others for fun, and there those ego-centered ones who do it to torment others. Cyberbullying has very devastating effects on victims. For example, is that of Amanda Todd. She was bullied online, stalked, and tormented until she couldn’t take it anymore and committed suicide at a very tender age.
Unfortunately, social media has also made it easy for child pornography to be accessed online. Pedophiles usually purchase child pornography from pornographers through social media platforms. Pedophiles also lure young children via social media platforms to engage in sexual activities. Luring or tricking of a minor into sexual activity is a crime. For example, interacting with an underage child online after meeting via social media platforms and inviting them for a date is illegal. Meeting up with a minor, and indulging in sexual activities after hooking up in the internet is a criminal offense. A good example is that one of Neil Scott Kramer. He was charged and sentenced by a U.S law court because of using a cell phone to lure a minor to engage in prohibited sexual behaviors
Moreover, social media has provided a platform whereby people share their confidential information. Cybercriminals use this information to carry out social engineering through psychological manipulation. They convince unsuspecting users to relay their confidential and sensitive data. Consequently, these crimes’ take place through emails or other forms of online communication. The attacker gathers all the information he needs to know about his target from social media platforms. Once they collect all the information, they require they compose an email and forward it to the destination. The email usually doesn’t look suspicious at all, and hence the target person does not think twice about opening the mail. All in all, social media users should be on the lookout for suspicious emails and other forms of online communication.
Besides, social media has provided a platform where criminals can trade compromised data. Anybody is just two clicks away from finding compromised financial data in social media. On Facebook, for example, if you search for credit card details, it will direct you to people offering stolen data. Social media is easily accessible and therefore laying a platform for people to access compromised financial data.For example, there have been 1,100 cases of data breaching and more in the year 2018, and also 565 million consumer records compromised. Marriot International is another excellent example where information of its users was compromised after cyber thieves stole data of approximately 500 million customers
Furthermore, social media has enabled the sending of a large amount of restricted electronic message, which is illegal. People who carry out these activities are called spammers, and the event is called spamming. It involves sending limited bulk messages using a computer or a cellphone. The most common form of spam is email spam. The email sender usually has terrible intentions when sending the email, and in most cases uses email spoofing techniques to hide the origin of the email. Spam emails are dangerous because they might carry viruses and malicious links which request sensitive information from the user. For example, on 26 March 1999 the Melisa worm infected a single computer, and then automatically sent that infection informs of a document to other networks via email.
Moreover, social media has led to increased ransomware cases. Ransomware is whereby software that is internationally intended to damage a computer and its files are created and spread. The people behind the forming of that software demand ransom from people whose computers have been affected. The problem with social media is that people have an inherent trust, and that is what is being tapped into by those cybercriminals (Mark 2018). Mostly, cybercriminals use drive-by-downloads, infected adverts, and things of such nature to compromise machines. For example, in 2017, the FBI’s internet crime complaint received 1783 ransomware cases that cost victims over $2.3 million. However, those complaints represent only theattacks reported to the internet crime complaint center.
In conclusion, social media has made it easy for cybercriminals to set up fake profiles, and use them to carry out crimes online. Unfortunately, social media also provides an arena for cybercriminals to carry out surveillance of innocent users. Social media is also responsible for increased cyberbullying activities; mainly carried out by children against other children. Cyberbullying is very devastating to victims and makes many victims commit suicide. It’s so unfortunate that child pornography is easily accessible online. Pedophiles can buy child pornography easily online and even exploit and molest children on those online platforms. Social media exposes online users to cybercrimes by providing online platforms where people share their confidential information.