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Cybercrime and Its Impact on Society


Modern society goes through various changes every day: people can observe movements, policies, and establishments that have never taken place before. Environmental issues, space travel, jobless growth, inequality and nationalism, migration, and social instability – all these problems affect the development of communities and countries. This paper will critically assess one subject related to modern society that is cybersecurity and the growing dangers coming from cyberspace. There will be discussed current processes going on the Internet regarding the cybercrime field, its threats imposing to the society, and the implications that might influence people in the future.

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Overview of Cybersecurity Issue

The year 2018 had a large number of cyber events, offering a lot of questions and reasons for analysis and reflection. It is stated that the majority of cybercrimes were committed by hackers that were motivated financially and ideologically (Coats 5). Among the severe attacks was the disabling of the official website of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Southeast Asia is suggested to be the most actively attacked region when considering cybercrimes (Haynes). Even though the countries of the area express grave concern about the situation, the quality of dialogue in the region remains at the level of 2010-2012.

In September 2018, a new cybersecurity strategy was published – one of the most anticipated documents of the year. The paper suggests a shift to a more proactive and even offensive position, which was to the taste of the military (the United States, Department of Defense 1). According to the document, the US will “defend forward to disrupt or halt malicious cyber activity at its source” (for example, hacker attacks in response to the actions of other countries). The US is ready to share its growing cyber potential (both defensive and offensive) with NATO allies if such a need arises, and there is a corresponding request from the countries of the Alliance (NATO). The organization also plans to create a separate center for coordinating NATO’s actions in cyberspace.

In three days in May 2017, the WannaCry encryption virus attacked 200 thousand computers in 150 countries. The virus has swept through the networks of universities in China, Renault factories in France and Nissan in Japan, telecom company Telefonica in Spain, and rail operator Deutsche Bahn in Germany (Johnson). Experts of the World Economic Forum stated that cyberattacks “are perceived as the global risk of highest concern” (Drzik). All these figures lead to the fact that society is a target and will face harsh crimes that will be conducted in cyberspace.

The presidential decree opened unprecedented opportunities for the use of cyber weapons – the reasoning of this step caused another disagreement among experts and the population (Sanger). In this context, the number of emerging threats may exceed the number of problems to be solved: operations undercover (“false-flag” operations) will create a new round of tension between countries (Coats 11). It is also understood that the authorities will work closely with operators of critical infrastructure to ensure the highest level of cybersecurity.

What threats cyber attacks bring to society

Without exaggeration, one can say that the lives of most people are stored in computers: lists of relatives, friends, and acquaintances, videos and photos, information about where people were, what do they like and do not like secrets, and confidentiality. Given that society is becoming more and more dependent on information and communication technologies, the protection and accessibility of these technologies are becoming a critical point and a vital topic for national interests.

The scenarios that society can experience may be various. One scene can be associated with security in the transmission of medical information. When people visit the doctor while traveling or even in the hometown, doctors get access to the patients’ data via the Internet. In this case, the doctor who treats a patient continually communicates with the system on the Internet, and at this stage, the data of the patient may be under attack. If a doctor gets false information from the system, it can physically affect the patient, as there may be prescribed the wrong medicine.

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If, for example, a person has security sensors at home, a temperature sensor, and a climate control system that regulates the temperature in the house to track the state of a residence or check how children are doing, then everything becomes interconnected. This information flows from sensors are usually monitored by a security company. What if the flow of this data will be threatened, and hackers may have control over it? A hacker can disable all cameras and sensors to rob a person, use the data to commit illegal actions, and so on.

On an individual level, a cyber-attack can lead to a variety of consequences, ranging from theft of personal information to extortion of money or loss of valuable data, such as family photos. Society and systems depend on critical infrastructures, such as power plants, hospitals, and financial services companies. The protection of these and other organizations is essential for the maintenance of our society and support of the relations between countries and international organizations.

These days, the damage from cybercrime has become extremely high. In 2019, society was hit with several significant attacks: two cities in Florida (USA) have paid ransoms totaling over a million US dollars after cyberattacks (Wile). The famous British airlines British Airways was forced to pay a fine of 183 million pounds due to data breaches of the passengers (BBC). Cybercrime is becoming global and more dangerous than traditional organized crime.

The number of online communication activities of extremist and terrorist communities is rapidly increasing; the cases of sexting and cyberbullying have become more frequent. Symantec states that “nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft” (Symantec). According to Cybercrime Magazine, cybercrime “will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined” (“Cybercrime Damages $6 Trillion By 2021”). Thus, society experiences unprecedented malicious movements in cyberspace that are going to accelerate further.

Technology makes the life of people more comfortable, but danger can come from anywhere. Cybercriminals are actively creating botnets from the IoT (Internet of Things) for later use in DDoS attacks. It is not difficult to imagine the consequences of such an attack if 20 billion IoT devices are going to be connected to the Internet by 2020, according to Gartner (Hung 2). For example, a virus can encrypt not only a computer, an apartment, or a house, but also an entire smart city.

Cases of cyber threats can have unpredictable political effects at all levels. The beginning of 2018 was remembered by scandals related to the leakage of personal data. The most high-profile fracas erupted around Facebook and reached the proceedings in the US Congress with Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony about the fake news and leakage of personal data of Facebook users in front of US Congress (Ivanova & Segers). No one could have imagined that social networks would become such a powerful political tool to influence the decision of the President of the US.

Not a power outage or a failure in the data center will raise the head of the country, city, or business out of bed at night, as the loss of data. What happens if all interconnected smart infrastructure, such as money transfer processing and banking, are affected? The interruption or loss of data on tax payments, remittances, or supply chain structure can leave local or federal government agencies without operational funds in a few days. This state of virtual exhaustion of an organization can become irreversible.

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Implications and future cyber threats for society

It is expected that cybercrimes will become even more prevalent in the next years. According to Accenture, in 2019, hackers will not reduce their activity, and for the implementation of large operations and attacks, they will have to carry out even more serious work. Due to the ongoing work of authorities to find and arrest members of large cybercriminal groups, others will create new groups, changing countries, and regions and copying each other’s tactics.

According to Accenture, the market for cybersecurity services is growing at a pace similar to the Digital and IT markets. Accenture predicts that by 2020, the global expenditure on cybersecurity services will reach $125 billion, while the total comprehensive damage from cyberattacks could grow to $90 trillion by 2030 (Bissel et al. 2). The increasing reliance on data in cloud systems will give hackers the incentive to weaponize it against citizens and society of various countries and manipulate the opinion of people by creating fake news as it was done before with US elections.

Private homes, home routers, and storage systems are also at higher risk. BeyondTrust company that is specialized in access management states that “the major devices targeted will be IoT and will range anywhere from consumer-based routers to home-based nanny cams” (Haber). A person can only imagine what the consequences may be if a hacker will have access to the homes of users, can track any movements inside, and block appliances from outside.

Similarly, Cisco sees a specific danger in the growing threat of DDoS attacks carried out through Internet-connected home devices. According to company analysts, in the future, more severe threats await the critical infrastructure sector (Cisco). Chief Cyber Officer of threat detection company BioCatch Uri Rivner claims the following: “Your smart fridge will start scamming you. IoT-connected appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines already produce unattended payments that the user cannot personally verify. Fraudsters see this vulnerability now and will begin to take advantage of it” (Press). Thus, people may expect intrusion in their homes, wallets, browsers, and other valuable spaces and sources of information.


The fact that someone can steal the identity of a person, prescribe the wrong medication, or commit a financial crime with someone’s phone pose a threat to society that is moving to communications in cyberspace. It might be stated that cyberattacks in the future may have more massive societal implications as people continue to increase their dependency on the Internet, technologies, and services provided online. Society can be the aim of cybercriminals who have their intentions, and nobody knows how it will affect the development of countries and cities. Still, everyone should be aware of the upcoming threat.

Works Cited

10 cyber security facts and statistics for 2018.” Norton by Symantec, 2018. Web.

British Airways faces record £183m fine for data, 2019. 

Cyber, 2018. 

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“Cybercrime Damages $6 Trillion By 2021.” Cybercrime Magazine. 2019. Web.

Bissell, K., et. al. The Accenture Security Index. 2017. 

Cisco. 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report. 2018. 

Coats, Daniel. Worldwide Threat Assessment. 2018. 

Department of Defense. Cyber Strategy Summary. 2018. 

Gartner. Leading the IoT. 2017. 

Haber, Morey. “BeyondTrust 2019 Security Predictions.BeyondTrust. 2018. 

Haynes, Matthew. “State-Sponsored Actors Focus Attacks on Asia.BleepingComputer. 2018. 

Ivanova, Irina & Segers, Grace. “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faces sharp questioning in Congress about Libra cryptocurrency.CBS News. 2019. 

Johnson, Tom. “Here’s one tally of the losses from WannaCry ransomware global attack.” McClatchy, 2017. Web.

Lloyd’s. Counting the cost. 2017. 

Press, Gil. “60 Cybersecurity Predictions For 2019.Forbes. 2018. 

Sanger, David. “Trump Looses Secretive Restraints on Ordering Cyberattacks.The New York Times. 2018. 

Wile, Rob. “Key Biscayne recovering from cyberattack after hackers hit a third city in Florida.Miami Herald, 2019. Web.

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