CYBER CRIME AND CORPORATE SECURITY
In the past, various businesses have lost huge sums of money to cybercriminals, while others have experienced severe service disruptions. This has been the case as cyber criminals execute schemes meant to advance certain agendas. For this reason, cybercrime is increasingly being seen as one of the most serious challenges that business enterprises (as well as government agencies) face today. Various surveys conducted in the past indicate that the problem could be worsening. The problem is aided by the emergence of what could be deemed as cybercrime facilitating factors such as crypto currencies. The dynamic nature of cybercrime, i.e. in relation to variations in the methodology and conduct of attacks, also makes it difficult for this particular challenge to be effectively dealt with. It is with this in mind that various interventions have been floated in the past to reign in this particular challenge. However, to a large extent, the success of such interventions has hugely varied. For this reason, there may be need for the formulation as well as implementation of a coherent cybercrime policy intervention. Such an intervention would ideally bring together various stakeholders and seek to incorporate certain theoretical perspectives so as to maximize chances of success.
Cyber Crime and Corporate Security
There are many challenges that organizations and agencies operating in todays world face. One such challenge happens to be cybercrime. Over the last few years, the number of organizations that have suffered at the hands of cyber criminals has gone up drastically. This is particularly the case as businesses increase their reliance upon computers and the World Wide Web to not only enhance efficiency and productivity, but to also pursue a competitive advantage. To a large extent, cybercrime could be conceptualized as the utilization of a computer system as the primary tool in the commission of an offense. In basic terms, such an offense could range from mere access to unauthorized data or information to theft of hundreds of millions of dollars. Multiple organizations within the country have fallen victim to cybercrime over the last one decade. While some of these organizations only ended up experiencing minor disruptions, others lost huge sums of money at the hand of cybercriminals. Still, others had their reputations irreparably tarnished as a consequence of data breach. It is likely that going forward, there will be marked increase in cybercrime rates as technology advances and as more businesses scale down their brick and mortar locations and take their operations online. It is likely that criminals will continue to deploy even more sophisticated approaches in an attempt to exploit vulnerabilities across various platforms.
It would be prudent to note that there are various kinds of specific cyber security threats and challenges that corporations or enterprises grapple with today. This text will concern itself with four such challenges. More specifically, the challenges that will be addressed on this front are: ransomware, denial of service attacks (also referred to as DoS attacks), data breaches/theft, and hacktivism. With cybercrime being a growing concern, the relevance of deploying effective interventions to reign in the vice cannot be overstated. Many interventions have been proposed by various practitioners and commentators in the past. These are inclusive of the deployment of the creation of robust mechanisms for IT security. In this write up, prevention efforts will be assessed from the perspective of policy interventions.
In seeking to develop better understanding of this particular phenomena i.e. in relation to its nature and conduct – there will be need to deploy one of the major crime and deviance theories. The theory that will be deployed in in this case is the social strain theory. It should be noted that there is no standard definition for this particular theory. This is more so the case given that various definitions to the same have been floated in the past. According to Moon, Blurton, McCluskey (2007), this particular theory makes an observation to the effect that persons could be pressurized to engage in criminal behavior by social structures. This is to say that an individual could be pressured into committing crime, including computer hacking and system intrusion, by societal structures. As Moon, Blurton, McCluskey (2007) further observe, the theory was first proposed by Robert K Merton in 1938. This theory appears to be the most ideal in the context of this discussion. We could speculate that those who engage in computer hacking, system intrusion, cyber terrorism and other formats of cybercrime usually cave in to social pressures to deploy their skills and capabilities to make money or pursue other non-profit agenda. To a large extent, most Hollywood movies and cinemas glorify such a course of action and routinely project characters who brilliantly hack into systems as heroes. This is the very same perspective that has gained considerable acceptance in the public domain especially when it comes to some formats of cybercrime such as hacktivism (Alexopoulou and Pavli, 2021). Continued engagement in cybercrime could, on the other hand, be explained in terms of the formation of communities with shared values. This is more so the case given that as Soderberg and Maxigas (2021) point out, there are three key pillars upon which the hacker community autonomy is founded. One of these pillars happens to be shared values. It would be prudent to note that as the authors in this case further observe, there are various formats under which the cultivation of shared values occurs. One such format happens to be regular online mass interactions. The said interactions could occur in a wide range of settings including, but not limited to; chat rooms and mailing lists. Shared values could also be cultivated via the embrace of symbolic signs and emblems. With this in mind, we could argue that individuals who engage in deviant behavior, and in this case in cybercrime, are motivated to do so by the societys embrace of this kind of behavior as a mark of brilliance, and subscription to the hacker culture. It would be prudent to note that familiarity with this school of thought could come in handy in efforts to deploy the most effective interventions to reign in the problem.
Overview of Issues
As has been pointed out in the introductory section of this text, some of the key cybersecurity challenges that businesses enterprises grapple with today are inclusive of ransomware, denial of service attacks, data breaches/theft, and hacktivism. Ransomware could simply be defined as a computer program designed to encrypt data effectively making the said data inaccessible to those who need it with the sole intention of demanding some form of payment so as to decrypt the affected data. It is for this reason that the term ransom is used, as in essence, there is a demand for the payment of money for the release (decryption) of data which is in this case the asset held captive. On the other hand, denial of service attacks (otherwise referred to as DoS attacks) happen to be malicious attacks on a network, service, or server with the intention of making such counters unavailable. The objective in making such counters unavailable is to ensure that users are unable to access crucial data, information, services, or execute certain commands.
Third, we have data breaches/theft. As the name suggests, data theft happens to be the stealing of data which could in this case be available in a wide range of formats, i.e. in form of reports, statements, statistics, figures, or even simple document profile. In this realm, the said theft of data happens to take place via the utilization of computer systems and is perpetrated with malicious intent. One such intent could be gaining access to information that would otherwise be unavailable to unauthorized third partes (i.e. confidential competitor information). Further, the intention could be utilization of stolen confidential info as a bargaining chip for some form of payment with the threat of release of such information to the general public if the payment is not made.
Lastly, yet another cybercrime concern that ought to be taken into consideration is hacktivism. It is important to note that hacktivism happens to be a relatively new phenomenon in the cyber security realm. To a large extent, unlike the other cybercrime concerns I have highlighted above, hacktivism is not necessarily profit-oriented. Instead, it is a kind of cybercrime activity meant to advance a certain political or social agenda. This does not make it any less of a criminal offense. For instance, a cybercriminal could break into a website of a political party and post statements loaded with a certain social or political agenda. The subsequent sections of this text will discuss the highlighted cyber security issues in greater detail. This is more so the case in relation to their execution and the impact that they have on business enterprises.
Synthesis of Literature Review
Ransomware happens to be one of the various kinds of malwares. According to Faruki et al., (2014), the other kinds of malware are inclusive of, but they are not limited to; spyware and virus. To a large extent, this happens to be one of the most frequent cybersecurity concern affecting businesses (Reshmi, 2021). This is more so the case given that that the deployment of the said malware happens to be rather lucrative. Reshmi (2021) indicates that of all the malware attacks that businesses encounter, most enterprises deem ransomware as being the most damaging or demanding from a financial perspective. Businesses that find themselves on the receiving end of ransomware often find themselves between a rock and a hard place with the choices in this case being either the loss of critical data or the payment of the sum demanded. It is important to note that to a large extent, crypto-currencies have enabled and/or facilitated ransomware attacks. This is more so the case given that thanks to crypto-currencies, cyber criminals can demand and receive ransom and leave no trace of their location or identity (Reshmi, 2021). According to the author, this makes it difficult to trace the said criminals. In addition to crypto-currencies, offenders also actively make use of platforms that are anonyimized to cover their tracks (Connolly and Wall, 2019). Also, as Connolly and Wall (2019) indicate, offenders on this front have also been rather innovative and adaptive over the years. More specifically, in the words of the authors, year in and year out, the increasing adaptively of offenders has maintained ransomwares position as a major cybersecurity threat (Connolly and Wall, 2019, p. 113).
Ransomware happens to be indiscriminative in its deployment. This is to say that entities in both the public and private sector could be victims of ransomware. Indeed, as Reshmi (2021) observes, entities that have found themselves on the receiving end of ransomware operate in diverse industries from health services to financial services, telecommunications, and transport. Public law enforcement companies, as the author further indicates, have also been attacked using the said malware. In recent times, some of the organizations that have been attacked using this particular malware format are inclusive of Canon (a photography company) and the University of California. In the latter case, cyber criminals deployed ransomware that ended up compromising the universitys research data (specifically relating to COVID-19). The said cyber criminals then went ahead to demand a $1.14 million ransom from the university so as to decrypt the compromised data. This figure, however, pales away in comparison to what Maersk lost to a ransomware scheme. According to Mathews (as cited in Connolly and Wall, 2019), this particular shipping company suffered losses of approximately $300 million to the NotPetya ransomware worm attack. In some instances, the impact of ransomware could extend far beyond financial loss. For instance, according to Willing et al. (2021), last year, a German hospital was the victim of a ransomware attack that effectively crippled its operations. More specifically, as the authors point out, some of the hospitals key infrastructure, including its emergency care experienced breakdown. This goes to show the kind of havoc that this kind of malware could wreck.
As has been indicated elsewhere in this text, ransomware attacks happen to be rather common. Indeed, as Connolly and Wall (2019) point out, previous studies indicate that this could be the most common kind of malware attack that business enterprises have had to grapple with over the last few years. For instance, in one such study, it was found that more than 50% of all enterprises sampled had found themselves on the receiving end of ransomware attacks in the preceding 12 months (Connolly and Wall, 2019). It is important to note that as the authors further indicate, some of the most affected sectors were inclusive of retail, professional services, energy, and the healthcare sector.
Going forward, there is need for the relevant strategies to be deployed in efforts to reign in ransomware attacks. However, the said strategies ought to factor in the changing ransomware landscape. This is more so the case with regard to the increasing sophistication of such attacks as well as the difficulty of tracing perpetrators as a consequence of the utilization of crypto-currencies.
ii. Denial of Service Attacks (DoS Attacks)
In some instances, cyber threat actors opt to lock out legitimate users from diverse network resources, devices or information systems. The motivations for these courses of actions could be diverse, as could the approaches used to execute the attack. Chauhan, Mishra, & Kumar (as cited in Kumar, 2016) indicate that DoS attacks could be triggered by motives that are either ideological, commercial, or criminal. In some other instances, the motive could be as simple as obtaining bragging rights within a hacker community. This reinforces the relevance of social strain theory, as has been indicated elsewhere in this text, in explaining the occurrence of nature and conduct of this particular cybercrime activity. To a large extent, a DoS attack seeks to overwhelm the target network or system with traffic to the extent that the execution of basic functions becomes impossible resulting in the locking out of legitimate users. The impact on organizational operations could be rather immense. This is more so the case given that DoS attacks limit the utilization of organizational resources. Indeed, according to Kumar (2016), DoS attacks often result in the consumption of not only the communication resources of an enterprise, but also its computing resources. This could result in loss of productivity. In most cases, the network shutdown or crush triggered by DoS attacks could be temporal. However, in some other instances, the damage caused could be rather significant. For instance, as Galeano-Brajones, Carmona-Murillo, Valenzuela-Valdes, and Luna-Valero (2020) indicate, these kinds of attacks could result in long-term memory depletion.
Loss of confidential data is yet another consequence of DoS attacks. For instance, Khan, Yaqoob, Hashem, Inayat, Ali, Alam, Shiraz, and Gani (2014) indicate that data could be permanently lost in direct DoS due to the overwhelming demands placed on the system. Loss of confidential data has the capacity to significantly disrupt organizational operations and negatively affect its bottom line. It is for this reason that Kumar (2016) indicates that this has been considered one of the most serious challenges in the cyber security realm. The author predicts that going forward, this is likely to be an even greater challenge. In the words of the author, this is more so the case given that with the rapid growth of technology, application service providers, network sevice providers, cloud services and availability of network capable mobile devices, our dependence on the networks is increasing day by day (78). This is an assertion further reinforced by Galeano-Brajones, Carmona-Murillo, Valenzuela-Valdes, and Luna-Valero (2020) who point out that advances in technology have made people and businesses more reliant upon networks for a wide range of functions and activities including, but not limited to; shopping, data and information retrieval, banking, communication, transportation, etc. Thus, like ransomware, DoS attacks could prove to be a significant challenge for business enterprises going forward. Indeed, recent surveys, as Kumar (2016) indicates have clearly demonstrated that there has been a marked increase in DoS incidents over the last one decade.
Efforts to reign in DoS attacks could in some instances be frustrated by the very nature and conduct of DoS attacks. For instance, Galeano-Brajones, Carmona-Murillo, Valenzuela-Valdes, and Luna-Valero (2020) are categorical that these kinds of attacks could be deemed the most challenging in as far as mitigation measures are concerned because they are designed to make multiple requests for multiple connections within certain time frames eventually shutting down, crushing, or slowing down the target. It therefore follows that there is need for more robust and effective strategies to be deployed in efforts to protect businesses from the harmful impacts of DoS attacks.
iii. Data Breaches/Theft
In some scenarios, the intention of a cybercriminal happens to be the extraction of sensitive material or information for a wide range of reasons – commercial or otherwise. When the said extraction takes place remotely, i.e. over computer systems and/or networks, this is referred to as data theft or breach. Dolezel and McLeod (2019) are categorical that like many other forms of cybercrimes, data breeches have in the past been on an upward trend. This, according to the authors, is more so the case in the financial services and healthcare realms. For instance, in the healthcare sector only, close to 2,500 individual cases of data breaches were reported within an 8 year span (i.e. between the year 2009 and the year 2017) (Dolezel and McLeod, 2019).
The impact of data breach or theft could be significant. For instance, in the healthcare sector, facilities that encounter data breaches could be slapped with hefty fines (Dolezel and McLeod, 2019). The authors in this case give an example of a 2018 case whereby a healthcare organization was forced to part with a total of 16 million dollars as a consequence of a successful data breach that resulted in the exposure of the private data and records of millions of users/consumers. Dolezel and McLeod (2019) further indicate that in the very same year, yet another organization was accused of failure to encrypt as well as secure critical patient data/records. For this, the organization was fined a total of 4.3 million dollars. Although the healthcare sector appears to be most significantly affected, and has the most publicized data breach cases due to strict disclosure laws, businesses in other sectors have also been severely impacted by this kind of cybercrime. Indeed, it would be prudent to note that in the words of Monteith, Bauer, Alda, Geddes, Whybrow, and Glenn (2021), in 2018, it was estimated in that cybercrime cost the world $600 billion, and that two billion people have had personal data stolen or compromised (44). On the receiving end have been both government agencies and private sector entities. Over the last ten years, some of the companies that have experienced major data breaches are inclusive of, but they are not limited to; MySpace (in 2013), Marriot International (in 2018), Facebook (in 2019), Sina Weibo (in 2020), LinkedIn (in 2021), Alibaba (in 2019), Yahoo (in 2013), etc. In the case of LinkedIn and Yahoo, a total of 700 million and 3 billion user accounts respectively were affected (Monteith, Bauer, Alda, Geddes, Whybrow, and Glenn, 2021). With LinkedIn being a more recent case, hackers were able to gain access and steal data associated with hundreds of millions of users. They then went ahead and posted the said data. It is important to note that in a statement following the breach, LinkedIn pointed out that the cyber criminals who had perpetrated this data heist never got access to sensitive data. Regardless of the kind of data that the said miscreants got access to, the damage was already done owing to the fact that this event was a clearly embarrassing incident that could have a negative impact on the reputation of the organization.
This happens to be a relatively new challenge in cybercrime. According to Sorell (2015), hacktivism could largely be conceptualized as a kind of social or political activism that is executed by using computer systems to disrupt operations at target organizations. Thus, a hacktivists could simply be described as activist hackers. Hacktivists do not necessarily have to know each other. Instead, this could be a group of people who share the same ideology and informally unite or collaborate so as to advance a certain agenda. For instance, in the 2012 Church of Scientology DDos attack, the hacktivists were united under a common belief. In the recent past, there have been numerous hacktivism incidents.
Like any other cyber-attack, hacktivism could have a huge impact on the operations of an enterprise. This is more so the case given that hacktivists often deploy a wide range of approaches and tools in an attempt to send their message home. The tools deployed on this front could be inclusive of DoS attacks, malware infections, data breaches (and subsequent publishing of confidential data), etc. Anonymous, as Alexopoulou and Pavli (2021) indicate, happens to be one of the more popular hacktivists formations operating today. The group, as the authors further point out, fashions itself as a modern-day Robin Hood foundation. The groups motivation for engagement in cybercrime could also be tied to the social strain theory i.e. to the extent that there exists a social motivation or driver for participation in hacktivist activities. Indeed, as Alexopoulou and Pavli (2021) further indicate, there are those who are convinced that Anonymous ought to be categorized as a hero formation. In the words of the authors, those who belong to this school of thought advance the perspective that Anons, could be deemed reincarnations of the mythical Robin Hood but in digital form, since they tackle corruption, repression, and injustice, as he did (Alexopoulou and Pavli, 2021, p. 242). It is important to note that this particular hacktivist formation has been involved in numerous DoS attacks since its inception in the year 2003. Some of those who have been on the receiving end of Anonymous exploits include huge organizations such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and religious organizations and formations such as the Westboro Baptist Church, etc. Thus, it is clear that like other kinds of cybercrimes, hacktivism has the potential to negatively impact the reputation, financial position, as well as operations of a company. Indeed, as Sorell (2015) indicates, despite being in some instances fronted as a democratic undertaking, hacktivism is in most instances ill-informed. For instance, Sorell (2015) is categorical that most of those who happen to be members of hacktivist formations are teenagers. According to the authors, such individuals lack political sophistication owing to their little or inadequate understanding of his things actually work in real-life settings. Further, Sorell (2015) indicates that in most instances, hacktivism does not meet the standards of a popular initiative or uprising. This is especially the case given that it is often difficult to establish the number of persons involved in such kind of an undertaking. Indeed, according to the author, it is not unusual to encounter a hacktivist initiative backed by only a few individuals but masquerading as popular initiatives.
As has been indicated in the discussion above, businesses continue to suffer immensely at the hands of cybercriminals. In addition monetary losses, businesses have in the past suffered damaged reputation and lost productivity as a consequence of successful cyber-attacks. Romanosky (2016) indicates that multiple authors, agencies, as well as commentators have indicated that one of the greatest threats facing the country is cyber threats. Indeed, the White House (as cited in Romanosky, 2016) has in the past indicated that one of the most significant national security threats that the country faces today is cyber threats. Further, according to Comey (as cited in Romanosky, 2016) cyber threats happen to be of serious concern and could grow exponentially going forward. There are a number of policy interventions that have been deployed in the past in an attempt to reign in the challenge of cybercrime. One such intervention was the 2013 executive order signed by the president to ensure that the critical infrastructure of the nation was secured from these kinds of attacks. This particular executive order, as Romanosky (2016) indicates also called upon the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to come up with the relevant systems and structures to promote information security best practices. The all important question on this front remains; has significant progress been made in efforts to reduce instances of cybercrime? As has been indicated elsewhere in this text, available data indicates that instances of cybercrime, across all counters, have been on an upward trend over the last few years. This effectively means that there is need for more robust measures, on the policy front, to address this exponentially growing threat.
In my opinion, the government and its various agencies happens to be a crucial stakeholder in efforts to protect businesses and citizens from cybersecurity risks. Thus, the role of government is not only limited to securing critical infrastructure from the said threats. Any policy intervention to secure the nation ought to be anchored in cyber security laws that are substantive and robust.
There would also be need to weave the social strain theory into efforts to combat cyber threats via various policy measures. Interventions in this case ought to cognizant of the role that social pressures play in motivating persons to engage in cybercrime. As has been indicated elsewhere in this discussion, persons who engage in cybercrime are likely to have caved in to the expectations of peers, i.e. in as far as the deployment of their skills and capabilities in hacking activities is concerned. To a large extent, such behavior is in some scenarios considered pleasant and encouraged. With continued engagement in cybercrime, perpetrators of the said kinds of activities end up being held hostage by the shared values of hacking communities. There would be need to, thus, incorporate sensitization/education initiatives and rehabilitative factors into policy interventions meant to reign in this particular challenge. In as far as sensitization/education is concerned, learning institutions and various youth forums could be roped in to offer instruction on the nature, conduct, and harms of cybercrime. On the other hand, rehabilitative factors could seek to offer to reform those who have been engaged in various cybercrime activities, i.e. by inviting them into collaborative forums to explore ways to end the vice.
A policy initiative also ought to cognizant of the dynamic nature of technology. This is to say that it should factor in the fact that technology changes on a constant basis. Thus, provisions should be made for interventions to be refreshed from time to time so as to ensure that new formats of cybercrime are captured.
In the final analysis, there is also need for governments to embrace a collaborative format in their efforts to not only craft, but also deploy national cybersecurity defense strategies. Other key stakeholders with whom to collaborate are inclusive of, but they are not limited to, cyber security experts, businesses and enterprises, other governments, etc. This is especially given that as has been indicated elsewhere in this text, cybercrime is largely indiscriminative in its conduct. Further, it is transnational in nature. Collaboration would thus be instrumental in efforts to not only share intelligence on emerging threats, but also in knowledge-exchange about best approaches in efforts to combat the challenge.
Cybercrime has in this text been described as one of the key issues that organizations face today. It is clear from the discussion above that organizations continue to suffer from the actions of cybercriminals who have been keen to exploit various vulnerabilities so as to advance their nefarious agendas. Available evidence indicates that the situation could be getting worse. This is more so the case given that cybercrime has been on an upward trend across all the counters highlighted in this text. The counters that have been extensively discussed in this write-up are; ransomware, denial of service attacks (DoS attacks), data breaches/theft, and hacktivism. For this reason, the relevance of deploying strategies meant to reign in the challenge cannot be overstated. The need for robust policy interventions has been restated in this write-up. It is also clear from the discussion above that no policy interventions can succeed outside of a collaborative framework. Towards this end, the suggestion is made that all stakeholders be roped in at both the design and implementation stages of any policy intervention. This is more so the case given that in addition to being indiscriminative, cyber-attacks happen to be transnational in nature.
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You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
Will anyone find out that I used your services?
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
How our Assignment Help Service Works
1. Place an order
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
2. Pay for the order
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
3. Track the progress
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
4. Download the paper
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!