The development of the Internet and the proliferation of computer technology has created new opportunities for those who would engage in illegal activity. The rise of technology and online communication has not only produced a dramatic increase in the incidence of criminal activity, it has also resulted in the emergence of what appear to be some new varieties of criminal activity. Both the increase in the incidence of criminal activity and the possible emergence of new varieties of criminal activity pose challenges for legal systems, as well as for law enforcement. Cyber crime has the following characteristics-
(1) Crossing of Jurisdictional Boundaries-Cyber crimes transcend jurisdictional boundaries, often involving multiple victims from different communities, states, and countries. The geographic location is not a primary concern for perpetrators who target victims over the Internet. Often, perpetrators travel hundreds of miles to different states and countries to engage in sexual acts with children they met over the Internet, Many of these cases involve local, state, federal, and international law enforcement entities in multiple jurisdictions.
(2) Victims not disclosing victimization-Many victims of Internet crimes do not disclose their victimization or even realize that they have been victims of a crime. Whereas children who experience physical or sexual abuse may disclose the abuse to a friend, teacher, or parent, many victims of Internet crimes remain anonymous until pictures or image are discovered by law enforcement during an investigation. The presumed anonymity of Internet activities often provides a false sense of security and secrecy for both the perpetrator and the victim.
(3) Severe Impacts- Cyber crimes are becoming increasingly pervasive and sophisticated and have more severe economic impacts than many conventional crimes.
(4) Structurally Unique- Cyber crimes are structurally unique in three main ways-they are technologically and skill-intensive; they have a higher degree of globalization than conventional crimes; and they are relatively new.
(5) Vicious Circle of Cyber Crime- The characteristics of cyber criminals, cyber crime 'victims, and law enforcement agencies have created a vicious circle of cyber crime Law enforcement agencies such as police forces are inexperienced with these new forms of crimes. In fact, localized police forces in most countries aren't equipped to deal with global nature of cyber crimes.
(6) Rarely Reported- Cyber crimes are also among the most unreported forms of criminality. Many victims are unwilling to report cyber crimes because they think that going to law enforcement won't stop an attack. According to the Computer Crime and Security Survey, 70 percent of those not reporting cyber crimes cited negative publicity as a reason. Difficulties related to documentation and proof further discourages businesses from reporting cyber crimes.
(7) Low rates of Arrest- Among reported cyber crimes, arrest rates are very low. Arrest entails identifying the pool of potential suspects and narrowing it down by eliminating innocents. The structure of cyber crimes makes it difficult to identify this pool, however.
(8) Low rate of Conviction-The conviction of cyber crimes, which requires proof beyond reasonable doubt, is equally complex. Difficulties related to furnishing documentation and proof to establish that a cyber crime has been committed compound the problem. Additionally, newness of cyber crimes presents a challenge to the court system.
Courtesy :- Legal Point Foundation