CYBER CRIME: A BILLION NAIRA INDUSTRY: It is very glaring that no country aspiring to greatness can afford to ignore the contributions of its youth or allow them to constitute a major threat to the realisation of its policies and programmes.
Unfortunately, the current social, economic and political trends have left a sour taste in the mouth of the youth; particularly, those from poor social and economic backgrounds.
A finger of blame should also be pointed at the portrayal of cybercriminals in popular our movies. The internet underworld has made appearances in movies and they have generally been portrayed in a positive light. 70 per cent of hackers and online scamers featured in films were portrayed as heroes, thus setting a negative precedent for the youths.
Globally, The Cyber crime industry is worth more than $388 billion more than the illegal drugs market in heroin, cocaine and marijuana. In Nigeria, according to a report made available by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Cooperation (NDIC) Nigerian businesses loose over 270 billion naira to Cyber crime annually. Report also revealed that over 81 per cent of cyber security incidents in the country are either unreported or unresolved, leaving room for the proliferation and escalation of illicit cyber activities.
The involvement of youths in Cyber crime related activities has become worrisome to both public and private enterprises, hence the need to address the fundamental issues which attracts and leads the youths into cyber crime.
Apparently, the present high value for money and other acquisitions regarded as yardsticks for determining the status of individuals in the society seems to have worsened the plight of the youth. This is because they have eroded the societal values for dignity of labour and moral integrity as they direct their energies towards earning a living through foul means.
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The distinct increase in youth cybercrime, suggest that more youths are committing cybercrimes simply to reap the large illicit rewards that it can provide. There will always be some youths on the look out for an easy money.
An increasing number of the high-profile data breaches, financial cybercrimes and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks against small companies, corporates and individual targets alike involve young people.
There is no doubt that today’s youths are becoming more and more willing to commit cybercrimes. One question that needs to be answered is ‘What can be done to address this problem’?
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Our Anti graft agencies has been celebrating the bursting, arrest and conviction of youths involved in Cyber crimes with little or no attention paid to their rehabilitation.
The best way to halt the youth cybercrime phenomenon is through widespread education. There is an urgent for youths to be taught the legal and ethical rules of the internet, as well as how to use the internet responsibly.
The UK and US have adopted specific initiatives to reduce the instances of youth cybercrime. Targeting teens with highly technical skills, the two governments created a contest aimed to test the skills of young hackers and to attract them to the idea of using their skills for positive purposes, rather than becoming cybercriminals.
In one of the US challenges, competitors were required to analyse a hard drive to find evidence to convict criminals, while in another they had to defend a network from attacks.
The aim of the programme was to encourage young hackers to consider careers in internet security, either for the government or private corporations, rather than using their skills for criminal motivations.
However, this Campaign Against Crime, An Initiative of Anambra Security Watch has earmarked plans to address all the loopholes and fundamental issues which give rise to youth involvement in Cyber crimes.
Amb Timothy Nwachukwu