Chronologize Development of Cybercrimes of Hacking, Email Wiretapping, Phishing, and Vishing

Computer Security

The development of cybercrimes

In the context of a digital age, online communication has become the day’s norm, with internet users and governments facing increased risks of being the targets of cyber-attacks.As the masterminds behind cybercrimes continue to advance and develop their techniques, they shift their targets too –giving less focus on the theft of financial information but giving more focus on business espionage and access to government information (Lehtinen, Gangemi & Russell, 2006).


Hacking is the breaking onto a computer or a computer network with illegally intention to obtain some critical information or to disseminate destructive computer software. An example of hacking is the in the case of United States v. Butler, 16 Fed. Appx. 99 (4th Cir. 2001), the defendant altered the records of a credit reporting agency in order to improve the credit ratings of his coconspirators, who used the improved credit ratings in making purchases.

Email wiretapping

This is the tracking of one’s electronic communication especially on email accounts. An example of email wiretapping is the Google interception of the users’ email to better target advertising to those particular users.


This is an illegal attempt by a person or an organization to acquire sensitive information, for instance, credit card details, passwords and usernames, usually for mischievous reasons, by camouflaging as an entity which is trustworthy in an electronic communication (Vacca, 2013). An example of a phishing message is “The Nigerian letter.” In the Nigerian letter scam, the sender make an appeal to the user to divulge an array of  personal information and the banking details in order to assist Nigerian refugees in getting money out of the country.


This is another internet fraud involving use of voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP), especially over telephone communication to trick people divulge personal information. An example of vishing incident happened to PayPal-money transfer service customers after they received an email claiming that the customer’s PayPal account was compromised, and the victim was directed to dial an 805-which simply directed, “Welcome to account verification. Please type your 16-digit card number.”

Challenges in ensuring computer security

Lack of adequate national policy documents in the cyber realm

Inadequacy or lack of national policy documents in the cyber spheres creates opacity with respect to the state objectives, which consequently fosters “ambiguity of intent” surrounding the actions of the state rendering states more likely to construe other states’ actions to be offensive (Gollmann, 2010). Various submissions have shown the incompleteness of the national policy documents in the cyber sector as a major challenge contributing to ambiguity within the state actions.

A blurring distinction between defensive and offensive actions in cyber field

The norms of those behaviors which acceptable in cyber are moving towards the offensive end, which permits an increasingly “offensive” activities in excuse of “defensive” ones. There is rise of offensive actions in cyberspace. Once an actor has explored a network for the espionage purposes, the actor only needs to just few steps to launch a cyber-attack. The blurry distinction between cyberwarfare and espionage ease the justification of the offensive capabilities under the pretext of defensive ones (Bishop, 2014).

Lack of internationally agreed definition of cyber domains key terminologies

Limited consensus on the accepted definitions of the key terms in the cyber domains creates hindrance to a potential treaty in pursuit of limiting the development of cyber weapons.



Bishop, M. (2014). Computer security: Art and science. Boston: Addison-Wesley.

Gollmann, D. (2010). Computer security. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Lehtinen, R., Gangemi, G. T., & Russell, D. (2006). Computer security basics. Beijing: O’Reilly.

Vacca, J. R. (2013). Computer and information security handbook. Amsterdam: Morgan    Kaufmann Publishers is an imprint of Elsevier.


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