1.1 Background of the Study
The invention of electronic devices such as modern communication hard-wares, internet service and computer systems has been a major landmark in human history. Ayantokun (2006), defined computer as a machine that performs tasks, such as calculation or electronic communication, under the control of a set of instructions called a program. Programs usually reside within the computer and are retrieved and processed by the computer’s electronics. The program results are stored or routed to output devices, such as video display monitors or printers. Oyewole and Obeta (2002), define a computer as an electronic device that accepts, processes, stores and outputs data at high speed according to programmed instructions. Computers perform a wide variety of activities reliably, accurately and quickly depending on the purpose it was designed for. Computer can be used in areas of education, medicine, engineering design, scientific research, office automation, personal administration etc (Morley and Parker, 2007).
According to Rogers (1995), the rapid evolution of the computer brought the internet. The internet services have reduced the world into a global village which makes it look as if everybody is in the same place at a particular point in time. Aside the fact that the internet has made communication to be easier and faster, a lot of other transactions are consummated at the speed of lightening. Oyewole and Obeta (2002), state that the internet is the inter connection of computer across the world thereby creating unlimited opportunities for mankind. Ehimen and Bola (2009), state that cyberspace has provided a save haven for internet platform, which has created geometric growth and accelerated windows of opportunities for businesses and the removal of economic barriers hitherto faced by nations of the world. People from diverse areas of human endeavor can now freely access and utilize the advantages offered by internet platform. In addition, Young Media Association (2007), listed the following as the positive gain the internet has brought to the world: a. Facilitation of job search and employment. b. Accessibility to research information for education and businesses. c. Rural integration. d. Enhancement of trade and commerce. e. Sharing of resources and ideas. f. Enhance communication.
Considering these limitless advantages of the internet, one can easily subscribe to the fact that it is an important tool for national development in a developing country like Nigeria. However, despite the development trend associated with the internet, it has brought about a new wave of crime which is threatening the social order in the society. The internet online services, which are ordinarily suppose to be blessings as they exposes one to a lot of opportunities in various field of life are fast becoming sources of discomfort and worry due to the atrocity being perpetrated through it. For instance, Salihu (2007), noted that the convergence of computing and communication have brought immense benefits to the society but these benefits also come with greater risk both nationally and internationally. This form of crime is commonly referred to as cyber-crime which is the latest and perhaps the most complicated problem in the cyber world today. It covers a wide range of illegal activities on the cyber space. Cyber-crime simply means the use of computers and internet as tools to conduct criminal activity such as financial fraud, identity theft, phishing and copyright violations amongst others. Some individuals in Nigeria have embraced cyber-crime as a way of life. Many have become rich while some others have been caught by the law (Tade and Aliyu, 2011). This new crime is denting and drilling holes in the economy of the nation. For example, in a recent report by the Internet Crime Complaint Center which is a partnership between the FBI and America’s National White Collar Crime Center, revealed that Nigeria now ranked third among the list of top ten sources of cybercrime in the world (Abdulhamid et al, 2011). Also the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its banking sector supervision report revealed that the Nigeria banking sector lost 7.2 billion naira to internet fraud (Ajewole, 2010). Losing 7.2 billion naira in a developing economy such as ours is not something to be proud about. Apart from the destruction cyber-crime does to the economy, it also is leads to the erosion of confidence in genuine Nigerian commercial credibility and today many western countries with France taking the lead have moved to deny Nigerian businessmen and women who are legitimate the rewards of e-commerce. France today requires web camera verification for most online business transactions from Nigeria (Longe and Chiemeke, 2008).
The youths in every society are of great importance and of great concern to that society because they are looked upon as the leaders of tomorrow. Olaide and Adewole (2004), observed that a sizeable number of criminals in Nigeria fall within the youthful ages and this youthful ages according to them ranged between 18-30 years. The youths at present have discovered different ways of using the internet in doing different types of criminal activities. In furtherance, these age brackets are usually found in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The word tertiary simply means the third part or rank. Therefore, after the secondary education the next educational level is the tertiary education which provides advance instructional curriculum to students with a view to develop them for careers in life. Tertiary institutions include universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and colleges of technology. In most Nigeria tertiary institutions, various form of crimes are being witnessed ranging from examination malpractices, falsification of admission, rape, robbery and stealing, sexual abuse, assault, cultism amongst others. But in recent times cyber-crime, a new form of crime, now exists in our tertiary institutions. Students of tertiary institution now engage in cloning of websites, falser representations, internet purchase and other e-commerce kinds of fraud such as credit card fraud (Ribadu, 2007). It is for this reasons, this study work was conceived to study the pattern and consequences of cyber-crime in tertiary institutions in Zaria and suggest solutions to the problem.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The contribution of internet to the development of the nation has been marred by the evolution of a new wave of crime. The internet has also become an environment where the most lucrative and safest crimes thrive. There are indications that cyber-crime is rising. For example, a 2005 YouGov poll of UK Internet users found that 1 in 20 had lost money in online scams. Also a 2001 survey revealed that 52 per cent of companies interviewed said internet fraud posed real problems for them (Wall, 2007). These are clear indications that cyber-crime is on the increase and as such, it is beginning to gain recognition at the global level and there is dearth of study in the area of this burgeoning criminal act in Nigeria.
Technology has integrated nations and the world has become a global village. The economy of most nations in the world is accessible through the aid of electronic via the internet. Since the electronic market is opened to everybody (which includes eavesdroppers and criminals), false pretence find a fertile ground in this situation. Vladimir (2005), said the internet is a global network which unites millions of computer located in different countries and open broad opportunities to obtain and exchange information but it is now being used for criminal purposes due to economic factors. Nigeria, a third world country is faced with so many economic challenges such as unemployment amongst others, which are capable of making this crime thrive. Apart from the economy factor been a possible cause of cyber-crime in Nigeria, there might be other causes for the continued rise in cyber-crime activity. In Nigeria, perpetrators of this crime who are commonly referred to as “yahoo yahoo boys” take advantage of e-commerce system available on the internet to defraud victims who are mostly foreigners thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. They fraudulently represent themselves as having particular goods to sell or that they are involved in a loan scheme project. They may even pose to have financial institution where money can be loaned out to prospective investors. In this regard, persons and organization are duped or have fallen victims. However, these are not the only techniques used by these cyber-criminals, there could be others which the research intends to unravel.
Attempt to address cyber-crime by various governments and international organizations have not been successful owing to the fact that the identities of the perpetrators of cyber-crime remain ambiguous and inadequate. A study by Zero Tolerance (2006), indicates that cyber-criminals are usually within the age bracket of 18 to 30 years and they indulge in the crime in order to survive and have a taste of good life. Noting these observations, there is need to identify more attributes/characteristics these cyber-criminals possess and what are other causes since it have been acknowledged that a good taste of life is a major factor. The internet create unlimited opportunities for commercial, social and educational activities, however, it has introduced its own peculiar risks that pose danger to the economy. This danger could affect many sectors of the society and put the development of the country into peril. Some of these possible adverse effects could include the destruction of the country’s image both at home and abroad, insecurity of both life and properties, fear of doing business with Nigerian’s citizen, economic loss of spending substantial amount of money on the prevention and control of cyber crime amongst others. For example, a survey on cyber-crime conducted in 2001 by Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and other parties including Price water house Coopers, states that cyber-crime could hinder the growth of e-business because it makes people to be afraid (Broadhurst and Grabosky, 2005). In essence, what other menace does cyber-crime poses to the society.
Consequently, many countries have intensified efforts in curbing the excesses of cyber-criminals. Nevertheless, efforts have been made by the Federal Government of Nigeria to curb the menace of the crime too. For instance, according to Awe (2009), the government of President Olusegun Obansanjo in 2003 set up a working group known as the Nigeria Cyber Crime Working Group (NCWG) to address this phenomenon since the loss suffered by both consumers and investors creates serious credibility and image problem to the country. Similarly, according to Abdulhamid et al, (2011), in Nigeria, a bill title “Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure bill” is presently been prepared to deal specifically with the menace of cyber-crime. The Economic and Other Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) have also played vital roles in curbing this menace. To support their efforts, Microsoft and other internet related organizations like PARADIGM Initiative Nigeria, Background Check International (BCI) and the Internet safety, Security and Privacy Initiative for Nigeria (ISSPIN) have also assisted to curb the maladies (Awe, 2009). In spite of all these efforts, cyber-crime in Nigeria is still on the increase. The situation raises a question on the type of cyber-crime that is on the increase and remedy to solve the menace. Consequently, base on the above statements the research work was designed to provide answers to the research questions raised and also to suggest solutions to the problem.
1.3 Research Questions
1. What is the pattern of cyber-crime in tertiary institutions in Zaria?
2. What are the social attributes of those involved in cyber-crime in tertiary institutions in Zaria?
3. What are the factors responsible for cyber-crime in the study area?
4. What are the types of cyber-crime common among cyber-criminals
in tertiary institutions in Zaria?
5. What are the consequences of cyber-crime in the study area?
6. How can cyber-crime be curtailed?
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are as follows: 1. To find out the pattern of cyber-crime in tertiary institutions in Zaria.
2. To explore the social attributes of those involved in cyber-crime in tertiary institutions in Zaria. 3. To identify the causes of cyber-crime in the study area. 4. To identify the types of cyber-crime that is common in the study area. 5. To examine the consequences of cyber-crime in the study area. 6. To suggest appropriate solutions to the problem.
1.5 Significance of the Study
With the ever increasing pace of development, cyber-crime has become an inevitable and a more specialized area of crime which threatens the economy and even the peace and security of the nation. The publicity surrounding Nigeria cyber-crime is raising fears that the country may face a slowdown in international investment in telecommunication as well as the financial sectors (Thomas, 2011). As more Nigerians use the internet for their banking needs, the number of fraudsters eyeing people’s bank accounts and online financial transactions has also multiplied. Hence, this study has provided useful information on the factors responsible for the increase rate of cyber-crime in the society.
Unlike the advance societies, developing societies have almost little or no modalities put in place to curb the excesses of cyber-criminals. In order to out smart the cyber-crime fighting agencies, these cyber-criminals have connections with one another thereby learning more sophisticated methods/skills day in day out to commit this havoc. As such, the exposure of the techniques been used by these cyber-criminals will contribute positively to the efforts being made by these agencies. Moreover, since youths within the age bracket of 18-30 years (Zero Tolerance, 2006), have been identified to be most vulnerable to this crime and have also been identified to be either in tertiary institutions or about to be admitted into one or graduates. The research work was able to identify other attributes/characteristics of cyber-criminals. In addition, since cyber-crime is denting the country image among the committee of nations and the present administration has vowed to place Nigeria among the top twenty largest economies in the world by 2020. This research will contribute positively to the efforts being made by concerned government and private agencies to develop strategies to combat the menace. Above all, taking into account that cyber-crime and the underlying criminology behind cyber criminals are very new and there is a relative shortage of available research and literature on the subject. This therefore, makes this study very important because the study has added to the existing literature by revealing a number of different bases on what typically makes and motivates cyber-criminals and also identify the consequences it has in the society.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study revolves around issues on the pattern and consequences of cyber-crime. It was conducted in Zaria, Kaduna State and limited to students of 3 selected tertiary institutions namely; Ahmadu Bello University, Federal College of Education and Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic. In addition, other respondents that participated in the study were operators of cyber café, lecturers from Computer Science Department of the selected tertiary institution and individuals who indulge in cyber-crime. The study was conducted from August 2011 to May 2013.
1.7 Definition of Key Terms
Computer: Computer is described as an electronic machine that works under the control of store information (programs). It accept data (input), store data in the memory and process the data to produce the required result in a specified format as information (output). Crime: Crime is an act that violates the basic values and beliefs of society. Those values and beliefs are manifested as laws that the society agrees upon. It could also be referred to an act of committing an offence that is not in line with the laid down laws. Crime is a legal concept and has the sanction of the law (Williams in Dambazau et al 1996). Cyber: Cyber is a prefix referring to anything related to computer or networking. The word as often used with a growing number of times to describe new things that are being made possible by the spread of computer. Cyber can be combined to make words such as cyber-crime, cyber-space and cyber-café.
Cyber crime: Refers to any criminal act dealing with computers and networks (called hacking). Additionally, cyber crime also includes traditional crimes conducted through the Internet.
Internet: Internet means international communication network. It is a communication network among computers. It is an interconnection of computers across globe.