Computer Science Project Topics

Effect of Cyber Crime in Nigeria

Effect of Cyber Crime in Nigeria


Abstract on Effect of Cyber crime in Nigeria

Information and communication technology has become a potent force in the transformation of social, economic, and political life globally. The increasing rates of cyber crime in the society have become a strong threat to Nigeria’s e-commerce growth and has led to ill- reputation intentionally and consequently denied some innocent Nigerians certain opportunities abroad. As a result of this, all innocent internet users should inculcate the habit of continuously updating their knowledge about the ever changing nature of information technologies. This will enable them to be familiar with any form of internet scam targeted at them.

This study therefore, critically look at the various cybercrimes in the country and as well looked at the causes, effects and as well proffered possible solutions to the menace of these various cybercrimes.



This chapter reviews literature related to the research. It involves a review of existing books, articles, journals and papers which are related to the research and also entails the interrogation of comments, critiques and issues revised by researchers/scholars on and about the impact of cybercrime. It also provides information that are central to effective understanding of the issues which necessitate the undertaking of this research, putting into cognizance the views and postulations of people across various fields of studies. Thus, it deals with a balance of arguments for or against quoted comments and eventual position of the researcher.



The Concept of Cybercrime

A cybercrime is a crime that is committed with the help of a computer through a communication device or a transmission media called the cyberspace and global network called the Internet. Cybercrime has been increasing in complexity and financial costs since corporations, government and individual or society at large started utilizing computers in the course of doing business. As technology increases between governments, corporate organizations and individuals that are involved in international and local businesses; criminals have realized that this is a cost effective method to make money. Efforts to address Internet crime include activities associated with defending networks and data, detecting criminal activities, inquiring into crime and taking legal action against criminals [3].Cyberspace security is crucial for maintaining the continuity of these vital services and for preserving the public’s trust in information systems. But can this be achieved world-wide? Well, this is a topic for another day as our focal point in this paper is all about cybercrimes and its impact on the Nigerian economy. Some examples of cybercrimes include sending spam emails (spamming), stealing personal information (identity theft), breaking into someone’s computer to view or alter data (hacking) and tricking someone into revealing their personal information (phishing), making Internet services unavailable for users (Denial of service –DOS), advanced free fraud 419 (aka Yahoo-yahoo), credit card fraud (ATM), plagiarism and software piracy, pornography, stealing money bit-by-bit in a cunning way (salami attacks) and virus dissemination etc.So many crimes are committed every day in the Nigerian cyberspace. A recent report in the Daily Trust, (2010) by the Internet Crime Complaint Centre, which is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and America‟s National White Collar Crime Centre, revealed that Nigeria is now ranked third among the list of top ten sources of cybercrime in the world with 8% behind the US (65%) and the UK (9.9%).Criminals that indulge in the advance fee fraud schemes (419) are now popularly called „Yahoo Boys‟ in Nigeria [4]. The country has therefore carved a niche for herself as the source of what is now popularly called 419-mails, named after Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code (Capp 777 of 1990) that forbid advance fee fraud. For instance, Nigeria is ranked first in the African region as the target and origin of malicious cyber activities; and this is spreading across the West African sub-region [5]. What Nigerian government, corporate organizations and the society at large do not know is that the heavy economic impact on the country, (either in financial terms or otherwise), will have an adverse consequences on unemployment rate, social services and international reputation. Therefore, a detailed introduction of cybercrime needs to be presented with the view to fully analyze the indices that make up this crime so that our government and society will be aware of this crime and its implication on the economy. In this paper, we will introduce the origins and the evolution of cybercrime, the different categories of cybercrime (target cybercrime, tool cybercrime and computer incidental). In 2011, [3]opinedin their paper titled “Cybercrimes and the Nigerian Academic Institution Networks”, examineddifferent types of cybercrimes that are frequent in Nigeria and also checks the rate at which these crimes are carried out by the use of academic institution networks as the access point,but not the impact on Nigerian economy which is the focal point of this paper.


Brenner (n.d) asserted that there are three main categories of cyber crimes as mentioned below:

  1. Target cybercrime: the crime in which a computer is the target of the offense.
  2. Tool cybercrime: the crime in which a computer is used as a tool in committing the offense (the place in which tool cybercrime happens is not physical environment but cyberspace – which make cybercrime).
  3. Computer incidental: the crime in which a computer plays a minor role in committing the offense.

The boundaries of these categories are not so clear. For example, if someone uses high-tech hacking into a computer or server, it’s hard to say whether it is in tool cybercrime or in target cybercrime. So why do we still categorize cybercrime? We do this in other that we can analyze cybercrime better and more efficiently. Although, looking critically at these categories, one will know for sure that there is some intersection. We will focus on each part of cybercrime respectively and finally have a comprehensive concept.


Crime as an Evil Factor of Society

Despite crimeless society is myth, crime is omnipresent phenomenon, and it is non-separable part of social existence, one may get irritate by the question, ‘Why there is too much ado about crime? ‘No one can deny that crime is a social phenomenon, it is omnipresent, and there is nothing new in crime

as it is one of the characteristic features of the all societies existed so far, may it be civilized or uncivilized, and it is one of the basic instincts of all human behavior! However, it should bear in mind that the social concern for high crime rate is not because of its nature, but due to potential disturbance it causes to the society. In addition, some individuals are victims of crime in a more specific sense.

The victims of crime may lose anything that has value. Safety, peace, money, and property are perhaps basic values, because they contribute to the satisfaction of many wishes.

  • Impact of Cyber Crime over Socio-Eco-Political Riders

Conceptually, crime is a dynamic and relative phenomenon and subjected to the relative sociopolitical & economical changes occurring in existing system of society. Therefore, neither all-time suitable comprehensive definition encompassing all aspects of ‘crime’ is possible at any moment of time nor can a single definition be made applicable to different society. With its dynamicity, it is influenced by the changes occurring in the correlated phenomenon and value system generated by these changes. As evident in present scenario where money is more valuable than values, a definite hike in the corruption related offences are observed where social morality is low which influence the commission of crime attached less social stigma than ever before. Incidentally economic crime is on its peak. This clearly reflects that crime has its interdependency with other social phenomenon, economic systems and political machineries. Also, the population is one of the important factors influencing incidences of crimes. A positive correlation between the growth in incidences of crime and the population of the country has been observed. Besides population, the other factors influencing the crime are such as situation at a particular place, rate of urbanization, migration of population from neighboring places, unemployment, income inequality, [computer literacy in case of Cyber crime] etc. At the same time, the economic structure of give society is also influence the economic crimes.

As every controlling systems for crime has much to do with the political system which prescribe norms, make rules, create preventive measure, the political structure and system also influence the crime in given society. This clearly demonstrates that every definition of crime has correlation with the socio-economic and political factors.

  • Impact of Cyber Crime over Teenager

These days a worst fear in teenager’s eyes is Cyber Bullying. It is become common over past five years, generally from the age below eighteen are more susceptible and feared from Cyber Bullying as per inspection. It is becoming an alarming trend in our society. As per inspection of data, the worst fear of cybercrime is on teenagers, female. Cyber Bullying is a fear when person receives threats, negative comments or negative pictures or comments from another person.

This is all done through core technologies described above mainly via online. Cyber Bulling can be done through chatting, instant messaging etc. Where website like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter user are more affected from Cyber Bullying. In my analysis generally feared person can reach a limit of depression, humiliation and threatens. Through this analysis we come to analyze that if person Bulled online he or she may be depressed up to the level of self-harming.

  • Impact of Cyber Crime over Private Industry

Having to use three attributes to describe cybercrime I would use the words intrusive, silent and dangerous. Just the silent mode of this type of crimes is a major problem in combating the threat, in fact, very often the companies realize that they have been victims of frauds or attacks until long after the event occurred. The consequences are disarming and retrieve the situation is sometimes impossible, precisely the time gap between the criminal event and its discovery provides an advantage to those who commit crimes often unbridgeable that makes impossible any action of persecution. But we are assuming that the event is discovered by the victims and this is not always true, many companies are in fact over the years are victims of cybercrime, but they are not aware, a cancer that

destroys from within.

According the report “Second Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study – Benchmark Study of U.S. Companies” published by the Ponemon Institute, a study is based on a representative sample of 50 larger-sized organizations in various industry sectors, despite the high level of awareness of the cyber threat the impact of cybercrime has serious financial consequences for businesses and government institutions. The report shows that the median annualized cost of cybercrime for 50 organizations is $5.9 million per year, with a range of $1.5 million to $36.5 million each year per company. The total cost is increased if compared to the first study of the previous year.

  • Impact of Cyber Crime over Consumer Behavior

The information revolution, coupled with the strategic leveraging of the Internet, has exposed a number of relatively open societies to the dangers of cybercriminal and cyber terrorist acts, especially in commercial business transactions. With the development of e-commerce, this commercial dark side has become known as cybercrime and has taken on many forms that affect the perceptions of the way we shop online. Corporations should realize that these threats to their online businesses have strategic implications to their business future and take proper measures to ensure that these threats are eliminated or significantly reduced so that consumer confidence in the Internet as an alternative means of shopping is maintained. These counter measures, coined as cyber security, have been developed to ensure the safety of consumer privacy and information and allow for a carefree shopping experience. There is need for the development of models that will allow corporations to study the effects of cybercrime on online consumer confidence and to counter through leveraging the benefits associated with the latest developments in cyber security. With these two facets of e-commerce impacting the online consumer, corporations must ensure that the security measures taken will ultimately prevail to assure that consumers will continue to use the Internet to satisfy their shopping needs

  • Emotional Impact of Cyber Crime

The first study to examine the emotional impact of cybercrime, it shows that victims’ strongest reactions are feeling angry (58%), annoyed (51%) and cheated (40%), and in many cases, they blame themselves for being attacked. Only 3% don’t think it will happen to them, and nearly 80% do not expect cybercriminals to be brought to justice— resulting in an ironic reluctance to take action and a sense of helplessness.”We accept cybercrime because of a ‘learned helplessness’,” said Joseph LaBrie,

PhD, associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University. “It’s like getting ripped off at a garage – if you don’t know enough about cars, you don’t argue with the mechanic.

People just accept a situation, even if it feels bad.”Despite the emotional burden, the universal threat, and incidents of cybercrime, people still aren’t changing their behaviors – with only half (51%) of adults saying they would change their behavior if they became a victim Cybercrime victim Todd Vinson of Chicago explained, “I was emotionally and financially unprepared because I never thought I would be a victim of such a crime. I felt violated, as if someone had actually come inside my home to gather this information, and as if my entire family was exposed to this criminal act. Now I can’t help but wonder if other information has been illegally acquired and just sitting in the wrong people’s hands, waiting for an opportunity to be used.”

The “human impact” aspect of the report delves further into the little crimes or white lies consumers perpetrate against friends, family, loved ones and businesses. Nearly half of respondents think it’s legal to download a single music track, album or movie without paying. Twenty-four percent believe it’s legal or perfectly okay to secretly view someone else’s e-mails or browser history. Some of these behaviors, such as downloading files, open people up to additional security threats.

  • Impact of Cyber Crime over Business

According to the FBI and the Department of Justice, cyber-crime is on the rise among American businesses, and it is costing them dearly. Cyber-crime includes a myriad of devious criminal practices designed to breach a company’s computer security. The purpose of the electronic break and enter can be to steal the financial information of the business or its customers, to deny service to the company website or to install a virus that monitors a company’s online activity in the future.

  • The-Cost-Of-Protection
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Companies that want to protect themselves from online thieves have to pull out their wallets to do it.

There are costs in identifying risks, building new and safer operating procedures, and buying protective software and hardware. For businesses with complex or sensitive operations, this often involves hiring a cyber-security consultant to develop a customized solution. Not only are the upfront costs of protection expensive, but the systems must be tested and monitored regularly to ensure that they are still effective against emerging cyber-attacks. These costs are often passed on to the customer through higher prices of goods and services.

  • Lost-Sales

Cyber-crime isn’t just for thieves anymore. A new subculture has emerged in the past few years: the cyber-activist. These are the online equivalents of protesters who chain themselves to buildings or trees. Their purpose is to shut down a company’s online operations to send a message about the

company’s business practices. In the past two years, major corporations, such as PayPal and MasterCard, have been attacked in this way. In December 2010, the PayPal website was attacked by dozens of people claiming to be part of the group, Anonymous. They attempted to perpetrate a denial of service attack in retaliation for PayPal shutting down payment services to Wiki Leaks. More than a dozen hackers were arrested in that crime.

While PayPal did not experience a full shutdown, many other businesses aren’t so lucky. A denial of service attack results in fewer sales as customers cannot access the company’s online store. It can even result in less revenue in the long-term if some customers decide to no longer do business with a company vulnerable to attack.

  • Impact of Cyber Crime over Youth

Cyber communication is society’s newest way to interact. Online social networking websites, text messages and emails provide users with an effective, quick way to communicate with people all over the world. Teens in particular spend hours online every day, on computers or personal electronic devices.

  • Friendships states that 48 percent of teens believe the Internet improves their friendships.

With social networking sites becoming increasingly popular, youth are able to stay connected to real and online friends. Some teens believe cyber connections help them feel confident to be their true selves. Instant messaging programs, used by an estimated 13 million teens, allow conversations with friends to occur in real time. Online communication tools open the door for friendships with other teens near and far.

  • Writing

While teens are frequently online, using cyber forms of communication doesn’t require formal writing skills. Quite the opposite actually occurs; youths often use shorthand, abbreviations or slang when writing online. The National Commission on Writing states that 85 percent of teens use social networking communication, but 60 percent of them don’t see this form of communication as “writing.” Teens should be aware of the difference between formal and informal writing, and understand when the latter is not appropriate (in school).

  • Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is a negative effect of online communication between youth. Victims of cyber bullying often experience rumors and lies spread on online social networks. Bullies may post inappropriate or embarrassing pictures of their victims. Another aspect of cyber bullying involves using mean text

messages as harassment. The National Crime Prevention Council states that cyber bullying is a problem for almost half of American teens. In some extreme cases, teens have taken their own lives as a result of cyber bullying.

  • Sexual Solicitation

Sexual solicitation is a growing concern for youth who use forms of cyber communication. It may occur in chat rooms or on social networking sites. Sexual solicitation occurs when an adult or peer tries to engage in an online sexual relationship. A teen may be asked to disclose personal information, view pornography or discuss something sexual online. About 70 percent of teens who are sexually solicited online are girls. Teens should be cautious in posting suggestive photos online and talking to

strangers in chat rooms.


The following are some of the cybercrimes most prevalence in Nigeria.

  • Yahoo Attack

Also called 419 because section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code has a law against such offenders. It is characterized by using e-mail addresses obtained from the Internet access points using e-mail address harvesting applications (web spiders or e-mail extractor). These tools can automatically retrievee-mail addresses from web pages. Nigerian fraud letters join the warning of impersonation scam with a variation of an advance fee technique in which an e-mail from Nigeria offers the recipient the chance to share a percentage of a huge amount of money that the author, a self-proclaimed government official, is trying to siphon out of the country.

  • Hacking

Here, Nigerian hackers are engaged in brainstorming sessionsattrying to break security codes for ecommerce, funds point cards ande-marketing product sites.

  • Software Piracy

Piracy involves the unlawful reproduction and sharing of applications software, games, movies/videos and audios.

  • Pornography

Pornography covers all types‟ photography, films and videotapes with varying degrees of sexual contents. The Internet has provided a free market for this crime as so many pornographic sites are now all over the net. This is one of the most popular cybercrimes in Nigerian academic institutions.

  • Credit Card or ATM Fraud

Credit card or ATM numbers can be stolen by hackers when users type the credit card number into the Internet page of the seller for online transaction or when withdrawing money using ATM card. The hackers can abuse this card by impersonating the credit card holder.

  • Denial of Service Attack

This is an act by the fraudster who floods the bandwidth of the victim‟s system or fillshis e-mail inbox with junk mails depriving him of the services he is entitled to accessor supply.

  • Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Crime

IRC servers have chat rooms in which people from anywhere in the world can come together and chat with each other. Criminals use it for meeting co-conspirators. Hackers use it for discussing their exploits and sharing the techniques.

  • Virus Dissemination

A virus is a computer program that infects files, frequently executable programs, by inserting a duplication of itself into the file. There are different types of virus and each type requires human participation (usually unaware) of their spread.

  • Phishing

Phishing refers to cloning product and e-commerce web pages in order to dupe unsuspecting users.

This is a technologically advanced scam that often uses spontaneous mails to trick people into disclosing their financial and/or personal data.

  • Cyber Plagiarism

This is the act of stealing peoples‟ ideas through the Internet public domains. This is very common in academic institutions as students and lecturers alike use it to steal other people’s ideas and publish them as their own original work.

  • Spoofing

To have one computer on a network to act like another computer, usually one with exceptional access rights, so as to gain access to the other systems on the network.

  • Cyber Stalking

The fraudster follows the victim by distributing mails and entering the chat rooms frequently.

  • Cyber Defamation

The fraudster sends e-mails containing defamatory content to people related to the victim or posts it on a website.

  • Salami Attack

Salami assaults are flamboyant economic scams or exploits against confidentiality by comprehensive data gathering.

  • Cyber Terrorism

According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, cyber terrorism is any premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which results in violence

against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents (


The pace at which cybercrime is growing is one of the most disturbing trends. Valerie McNiven, a U.S. Treasury Advisor, has proclaimed “Last year was the first year that proceeds from cybercrime were greater than proceeds from the sale of illegal drugs, and that was, I believe, over $105 billion.” She further added that “cybercrime is moving at such a high speed that law enforcement cannot catch up with it.”iii It seems clear that the issue will only become worse in the next few years, now that professionals have realized the potential windfalls if exploited properly. Recently, there has been significant discussion over the amalgamation of organized criminals and cybercrime. Such a pairing indeed forebodes an ill omen for the near term future. With most of the criminal groups operating out of Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia, where laws and enforcement are scanty, there seems little hope in containing and neutralizing the threat through traditional means. Phil Williams, a visiting scientist at CERT, summarized the issue succinctly. “The Internet provides both channels and targets for crime and enables them to be exploited for considerable gain with a very low level of risk. For organized crime it is difficult to ask for more.” The result that can then be expected will be an increase in sophisticated phishing attacks and other means for identity theft that may be two pronged. For example, using call centers to notify “customers” ahead of time of some issue, and then following up with emails that request personal information. The aggregation of personal information in many third party data centers will prove to be valuable targets to infiltrate. It is not hard to imagine criminals using data mining techniques to find the most gullible consumers, or tailoring phishing emails for specific people based on their medical, financial or personal history. Identify theft will also move in more automated directions. For example, botnets will become vehicles not just for denial of service attacks and spam, but also as giant search platforms for finding personal information, like credit cards and social security numbers. Controllers of the botnets will then receive payment to run queries on their “database.” With professional criminals managing the money laundering and organization of such schemes, it begs to ask where all the technical know-how will come from in order to perform cybercrime. Unfortunately, there are growing numbers of intelligent black-hats with university degrees spread around the globe, many of them operating in countries where legal employment does not pay as well and the chances of being caught are slim. But more troublesome is that it has become easier than ever before to be a hacker capable of inflicting great harm on networks and committing cybercrime. The Internet has created a repository of knowledge where anyone is able to learn the fundamentals of subverting computer systems, with numerous tutorials available that spell out in nearly layman’s terms how to perform a buffer overflow or a man in the middle attack. Interestingly, the greatest problem is not those who will take the time to learn and find new exploits. In fact this group will probably remain a small, highly intelligent network of researchers and security groups focused solely on finding holes in software. In this, it is preordained, that even if someone is motivated to learn how exploits work, finding a new exploit takes a degree of investigation, skill and diligence that most are not willing to invest. The real threat comes from the profound ease at which anyone can run a program like “MetaSploit,” a framework for running exploits against targets that allows new modules to be imported and run automatically. The attacker literally needs to know nothing about how computers work, besides how to operate one. In fact, for almost all attacks, the hard work is done by a small group of people, and then released into the public domain, allowing almost anyone to just run the attack. Botnets are no longer hand-crafted software made by one group who truly understood the fundamentals, but instead are open-source collaborative efforts that aim to make it as easy as possible to control remote computers, such as BotNET, eggheads and CSharpBot, all available from Source Forge. Thus, the barrier to entry to the field is so low that it allows almost anyone to experiment and join the swelling ranks of cybercriminals. With the learning curve so low, it should prompt discussion on the need for a new paradigm of thought in how to preempt and deal with criminals, in a way that is no longer tied to traditional methods. For example, for someone to break into a house, not only do they need to plan the opportune moment, but they may also have to be aware of lock picking, security system evasion and possess a degree of gumption to overcome moral thresholds. In opposition, the ease of cybercrime seems inversely proportional to the lucrativeness that it bestows and moreover, these trends show signs of accelerating.


The future of the Internet is still up for grabs between criminals and normal users. Fears of a cyber apocalypse still abound, while the potential extent of damage that can be caused by wide scale fraud is nearly unbounded. These anxieties should be rationally tempered with the knowledge that the problems are being addressed, although perhaps not fast enough. The usefulness of the Internet has proved itself in numerous and myriad ways that will hopefully be enough to ensure it does not become a wasteland of criminal activity and a bastion for the malicious. The government still has an important role to play, but most of the prevention needs to be done by commercial entities producing software and those with the ability to stop fraud. Relying on consumer education programs will only affect a percentage of possible victims. The others need to be automatically protected through measures that do not stress and require considerable participation. Security needs to be easy and effective if it is doing work. Whether cybercrime is still a pertinent issue ten year from now is unknowable in a sense, but if the Internet will continue to grow, it must be solved so that the realities of cybercrime will be proportional to real-world crimes, if not better.

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