Over the years, the movie industry has often over-simplified and romanticized the portrayal of cybercriminals. Movies undoubtedly reveal hackers to be misunderstood geniuses attempting to save the very society which ostracized them, only to be impeded by the unforgiving harsh government. Conversely, the media depicts the cyber-criminal to be an individual who does not believe in the term “free society” hence they are out to put tears in the society generally. Logically, the truth lies somewhere in between both images. Most misconceptions people have are unjustifiable. Only an iota of truth exists in them. Cybercriminals do indeed need to be very tech-smart and intelligent to commit crimes and escape scot-free. As with crimes in general, males do form the greater proportion of criminals than women. The difficulty actually lies in dealing with criminals who do not exactly fit the typical profile, easily escaping legal action.

All cybercriminals are smart but social misfits

This might have been the case during the time of the standalone computer when the programmer was usually a graduate in computing glued in front of his monitor and punching on his keyboard. He needed to be very tech-wise and possessed little time to socialize with others. Today, however, both the net and the user-friendliness of personal computers have made committing cyber crimes easy for anyone willing to learn to do so. An effective cybercriminal in the modern-day era needs to have excellent social skills and charisma in order to undertake social engineering and exploit the human aspect of encryption systems.

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Teenagers with computers are all cybercriminals

The media ought to shoulder most of the blame for this stereotype. Countless movies have portrayed individual teenage boys hacking into government databases and doing what trained terrorists failed to do. The image of a boy staying up in the night down at his basement working on his computer and wreaking havoc many miles away is prevalent. Just because hacking has become much easier than before does not translate to teenage boys selling Military secrets to rival states. Certainly, there may be a one in a million case if such an incident. However, this is an exception which proves the rule. The furthest a typical teenager will go to is illegally downloading warez software and music from the Internet and copying these onto a CD (piracy).

Cybercriminals are not “real” criminals

Strangely, many cybercriminals believe these themselves. This actually gives them the justification to continue committing cyber crimes because these are not “real” crimes. The popularity of online chatting under pretence has reinforced the belief that the cyber world is separate from the real one. This encourages criminals to dismiss ethics and morals. Cyberstalking, child pornography, online threats and blackmail are now pressing issues. The crimes themselves are not manifested in the real world, but the damage done is. Many also use the Net to find victims in the real world to rape, assault or even murder. An even more terrible counterexample for this issue is the rapid spread of cyberterrorism in which computers are being used to disrupt all telecommunication and security systems in a country.

All Cybercriminals have the same characteristics

Although some cybercriminals have similar characteristics, it is impossible to treat all cybercriminals as if they were alike because they are not. Each criminal subculture has its very own type of personality and areas of speciality. instance, a scam artist cannot be put in the same category as a serial killer in a getaway truck even if the damage done appears to be the same. Only when people realize that there is no “typical” cybercriminal will they start taking appropriate action against each specific type, in the process closing all loopholes for cybercriminals to operate or escape through.

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