Recent studies have highlighted the dangers of today’s Internet. Seemingly, innocent queries have turned into incredible hardship for some users. Unsuspecting Internet surfers have unknowingly brought upon themselves a plethora of petty and not so petty criminal activity. The common flim-flam man may now be operating inside that ubiquitous little black box sitting right there in your own home.

To be a victim of a crime you no longer have to be walking down a dark alley or walking to your car in some dimly lit parking lot. A 16-year-old ne’er-do-well or a member of a criminal organization could perpetrate this crime. This crime is called Internet fraud.

Popular keyword research tools have made it possible to obtain thousands of variations of the most popular phrases, words, or terms commonly used by searchers. Although the overall risk for being infected by one of any number of viruses, spyware, and Trojan horses is reportedly, less than 2%, the overall numbers of people affected is growing. Researchers maintain the most contentious websites were over 10% malicious. The worst offenders were offering anything that involves the expression “free,” or music downloads, or screen, savers, or free toolbars. This type of website was reportedly over 25% malicious.

Current Internet systems are struggling to keep up with technology that is easily accessible by spammers and criminals, culminating with today’s insecure Internet environment which some say has retarded the development of Internet Commerce. Spyware programs nestled inside a seemingly legitimate download, users unable to stop downloads and/or uninstall programs, and social media sites being sabotaged with their clients being redirected to malware sites. These serious problems need to be considered today.

Thievery and fraud are two crime categories that are being expanded daily. Continuing this trend will eventually prompt the federal government to intervene in a more comprehensive manner, such as President Obama’s” cyber security initiative.” From a law enforcement perspective, policing Internet fraud has its own definitive problems, mainly to do with the international complex and the difficulties related with the investigation and prosecution abroad.

• Are search engines 100% responsible for content?

• Does the consumer have some responsibility for what they download?

• Is it that the Internet merely enables traditional forms of crime to be carried out more extensively?

It may be concluded that some aspects of Internet fraud represents a serious problem, although perhaps not yet in the category of “crisis.” Statistically, Internet fraud is of no greater importance than other types of economic crime. Although the number of victims suffering at the hands of online criminals is large, the impact of the problem in the community as a whole is of median importance only. It is crucial to mention there are those who stand to benefit from the depiction of Internet fraud as being in a state of crisis. As well, there are those who may wish to downplay the situation.

It is necessary to recognize change is necessary, but it needs to happen carefully and deliberately. Any positive action will have a reaction. That reactions impact on the internet as a whole is unknown.

Written by: Raymond G. James

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Recent studies have highlighted the dangers of today's Internet. Seemingly, innocent queries have turned into incredible hardship for some users. Unsuspecting Internet surfers have unknowingly brought upon themselves a plethora of petty and not so petty criminal activity. The common flim-flam man may now be operating inside that ubiquitous...