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(a) Provide a brief overview of the case

(b) Introduce and demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the selected theoriesiperspenves

(c) Apply the theories perspectives in a manner that clearly demonstrates the applicability of each theory/perspective for understanding how and why the case occurred

(d) Drawing upon the theories/perspectives offer suggestions for prevention strategies applicable to the case and that type of cybercrime more broadly 

The Types and Importance of Cybercrime

In today’s world, where cyber crime had increased a lot, a good prevention of the data is really important. Cybercrime is of many types like online thefts of identity, frauds in finances, bullying, stalking, spoofing of emails, hacking, property crime and forgery etc. and can harm and create a tide in the lives of the people who become the victims of it (Dashora, 2011). This can be at its worst when it leads to the ruining of the finances and threaten the reputation of the victims and personal safety. Hacking is a usually considered to be illegal. It is an unauthorized interruption into the network. A hacker is known to be the person who hacks into the personal network for some kind of fraud. The hacker might easily change the system or the features of security for accomplishing the goal which differs from the real aim of the system. Computers have now days become necessary for running a successful network or a business (Jain, 2014). It is not enough to have the isolated systems of computers rather they are needed to be networked to facilitate connection with the outer networks. This is the reason they are exposed to the outer world and hacking. The crime in cyber world costs the firms millions of dollars each year. This report involves hacking case study in terms of two theories General theory of crime and Opportunity model of Victim logy.

Alexsey Belan was a cunning character as per the stories and the rumors convey. In the year 2013, an arrest warrant was put out by United States for a 29 year old guy who was Latvian ago actually managed to escape from the country and it was believed that he was hiding out in Europe. He was even believed to be in Greece as per the Forbes magazine. The American law enforcement called for international assistance in arresting someone who was accused of doing the fraud. Alexsey Belan was accused of carrying out the attacks on more than two major ecommerce sites. He hacked the data of Yahoo, Zappos and other websites and took out the personal information of the employees online. There was absolutely no information as to how he managed to escape from the FBI and made it back to Russia in protective arms. Due to this, the FBI even put the reward of 100,000 Dollars for people who could help in arresting him (Straitstimes, 2017).

Belan's Hacking Operations

Belan’s target was technical companies which were located in the West Coast. Mostly of the public breaches which were reported in the year 2012 and 2013 were believed to be done by Belan only. There were some more breaches which were not even reported to the public domain (Brewster, 2017).

The basic traits which are offensive were found on Alexsey Belan. They are as follows:

  • He found the peripheral web servers through Google and LinkedIn searches.
  • He already knew the flaws that Word press has and the custom bugs for compromising the PHP sites(McNab, 2017).
  • The authentication of the Linux was also changed for capturing credentials.
  • Nmap was also being used for identifying the exposed network servers in internal way.
  • The corporate wikis disclosed the administrative workflows and details of VPN.
  • Bug tracking, version control systems and ticketing gave the details of the secrets like seeds, hashes, credentials and even most important source codes.
  • The certificates of the clients were exposed(Bing, 2017).
  • The credentials of engineering were also used for committing backdoors to version control that were self approved and later deployed in the production.

There were in total 1.2 billion usernames, hashes, passwords and security questions were compromised from the victims that include Yahoo, Scribd, Evernote and Zappos, as per the NY times. There were likely millions of records from the victims which were unknown.

With the evolution of the technology especially in terms of the computer networks and the development of the internet have impacted in both ways, positively and negatively in modern day life. The general theory of crime is usually referred as the crime theory which is related to criminology. It says that the person who does the crime has very low self control and that is why he or she gives the birth to the crime. With the low self control, there is another major factor that helps the person in crime is the behavior of the criminal (Bossler & Burruss, 2012). It can also be said that the reason for the low self control in the individual is due to the criminal mind and the behavior of the person. That is the reason why general theory of crime is also known as the self control theory.  This theory of crime advices that the people who are not parented in an effective way prior to the age of ten, develops this low self control more as compared to the people who are given an effective parenting.

This theory rises from the interest of the bonding theory. Hirschi with the help of Gottfredson founded this theory in the year 1990. The research of both of them was based on the experimental observation of the strong, continuous connection in between the criminal behavior and age. Both the theorists finally just stated that the single most factors behind making the crime is the low self control of the person or criminal (Njoroge, 2014).  The self control of the individual changes and improves with age because of many factors like changing biology via development of hormones, socialization and rising costs of opportunity of losing control. In the addition to this, the criminal actions are mostly uncontrolled and they are opportunistic and very short sighted. The vulnerability of the people differs in different people (Geis, 2000). It depends on the moment in which they act on the crime. This theory always continues to be tautological.

General Theory of Crime Applied to Belan's Case

The investigators really could not tell as if the person or the criminal has the characteristics unless the crime has been committed by them (Arneklev, Elis, & Medlicott, 2006). Hence the theory automatically becomes tautological when the crime which is committed is used as the indicator of the low self control. That indicator is used in predicting involvement in other crimes i.e. the involvement in crime predicts involvement in crime. Due to this, critics debates that this theory do not say anything more except if the person commits crime then it is just because of the low self control and hence, the person commits crime. Gottfredson and Hirschi founded this theory because it uses the concept of low esteem for explaining the commission of all criminal behaviors. As per the theorists, low self control consists of the six necessary dimensions. They are impulsivity, self centeredness, preference for the simpler tasks, physical activities, risk seeking potential and possession of a volatile temper (Pratt, 2015).

According to the general theory of crime, it can be estimated that Alexsey Belan had low self control for the crime he did. It was known that he was hired by Russian people to do this breach. This guy belongs to Russia which is a well developed country and when this breach was done by him. He was 29 years old. According to the data given online in the news papers as well as the magazines, he was an intelligent guy who had a degree of Computer/Network Engineering (FBI, 2017). This means that he was highly qualified and perhaps that was the reason why he was hired for doping the most dangerous and biggest breach of all cases. Such a type of person definitely has a criminal mind and low self control. He already knew how to hack websites as mentioned above in the case study.  A highly qualified person can do something good with his life and by earning very well in life. Yet, this person went on to committing the crime when hired. Though, there is no information on the childhood of Alexsey Belan. Hence, this cannot be clearly said that his parenting was not done properly and effectively.

In case of this case is studied in terms of the six dimensions of the general theory of crime, then there could be the outcomes which would suggest that there was definitely low control in the person because of which he committed the crime.

  1. Impulsivity: It is very clear that the person did not think much about the future of the nature of work. He just did it without thinking. That proves that he was impulsive(Vazsonyi & Pickering, 2001).
  2. Simple Tasks: It is evident that he wanted to do work which was simple and easy for him. He wanted to do it in a easy way. What could be easy for a hacker better than hacking and earning money?
  3. Risk Taking: Alexsey definitely did not give much thought in the risks which were involved in the tasks he was doing.
  4. Physical Activity: The physical component does not apply in this case as hacking is a work which involves no physical activity.
  5. Self centered: Belan obviously thought just about him and not of those people whose data was compromised in this breach.  
  6. Temper: The temper component cannot be clearly defined as there is no much data on the internet about the person.

Victimization Theories Applied to Belan's Case

Hence, General theory of Crimes can be applied in this case study.

There are different theories of Victimology. Every theory aims to explain the particular people as to why some become victims of the crimes and some other don’t. There are people who view the theories in the negative manner, believing that the causes of the victimization are tantamount of blaming the victim for crime partly. There are four theories of Victimology (Harper, 2014).

The victim precipitation Theory: This theory has a view of Victimology from the view point of the victims and as to how they can initiate passively or actively, the criminal actions which at last leads to the injury or death (Reyns, 2017). At the time of the passive precipitation, the victim in non conscious way displays the behaviors which instigate the attack. The political activists, groups of minority and various sexual orientations looking for different lifestyles might also find themselves as the targets of the crime because of the threat they pose for certain people of power.

The Lifestyle Theory: Another theory is the lifestyle theory. This is the theory which proposes that the people are targeted based on the choices of the lifestyles and such lifestyle choices expose them to the criminal offenders and the situation of crime might be committed (Meier & Miethe, 1993).

Deviant Place Theory: This theory says that if the exposure is greater to the dangerous places, it will make the person more likely become the victim of the crime. This is very unlikely to the precipitation theory which says that victims do not influence the crime by active or passive encouragement. To lower up the chances to become the victim of the crime, the person must ignore the bad areas of the town where crime is more likely to occur.

Routine Activity Theory: The last theory is the routine activity theory. It displays the rate of victimization via set of situations which reflects the routines of typical people.

  1. The suitable target’s availability.
  2. The capable guardians are not present.
  3. The motivated offenders are present.

As per the theory, if more than two factors are present from the above then these factors might create higher risks of victimization.

In case of the Hacking breach done by Alexsey Belan, the most apt theory of victimization would be the Routine Activity Theory. As per the routine activity theory, two out of three features which are displayed in the above explanation should be present in the case study of hacking done by Alexsey Belan (Zaykowski & Campagna, 2014).

There should be a target available for the crime to happen. This is the simplest point which can easily be available in any sort of crime. All the ecommerce or the targeted companies like Yahoo, Zappos, Evernote etc were well to do companies and had lots of private data which if exposed would create lots of uneasiness for the employees and the company and as well as for the customers of the firms. Hence, one feature proves that Routine theory can be applicable to this case study.

For proving completely that Routine Activity theory is actually applicable in this case study should have one more feature from the given three features. When it comes to online hacking, there should be steps taken to prevent the data so that no data is exposed to the offenders of the firm or competitive firms. In this case of breach, there should have been the capable guardians (tight security of data) should have been present. In case if they were present, there might have been the chances that no data would have been compromised. From the cookies to the source codes, everything was hacked by Alexsey Belan in this case of breach.

Hence, it can be concluded that two features are applicable in the hacking case by Alexsey Belan from the Routine Activity theory. Therefore, this theory is completely applicable to the case study.

  1. The updating of the software and the systems should be done frequently.
  2. The downloading of the updated systems should be done.
  3. When the hardware is being sold in any situation, it should have no personal information stored in it.
  4. The security questions should have the answers which are not guessable easily.
  5. The sensitive data should always be kept out of cloud as it is accessible to all.

Conclusion:

This report focuses on the cyber crime and frauds which tend to happen these days every now and then. In the world of technology, one faces these kinds of breaches day after day. Lots of data and cost is compromised in such types of frauds (Saini, Rao, & Panda, 2012). Alexsey Belan was one of the cunning people who stole the data of some of the West Coast Companies in United States in which approximately 1.2 billion data of the clients and the employees were compromised. He is considered to be the most wanted accused of the world by FBI. A detailed background of this breach is discussed in the report. The General theory of crime says that if the criminal has the low self control, then he or she will tend to commit the crime anyway. A detailed description of this theory is discussed with the application of this theory in the case study discussed above. There are also various types of the theories related to Victimology. Four of the theories: The victim precipitation Theory, The Lifestyle Theory, Deviant Place Theory and Routine Activity Theory are discussed in this report. Out of these four case studies, the most apt theory was the routine activity theory. Hence, the application of this theory with the case study is also discussed.

References:

Arneklev, B. J., Elis, L., & Medlicott, S. (2006). Testing the General Theory of Crime: Comparing the Effects of “Imprudent Behavior” and an Attitudinal Indicator of “Low Self-Control”. Western Criminology Review , 7 (3), 41-55.

Bing, C. (2017). Here's how the FBI's most wanted cybercriminal hacks his targets. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://www.cyberscoop.com/alexsey-belan-yahoo-justice-department-indictment/

Bossler, A. M., & Burruss, G. W. (2012). The General Theory of Crime and Computer Hacking:Low Self-Control Hackers? Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7b2d/6483fa28db035c4af049e39419084085bbce.pdf

Brewster, T. (2017). The Hacker History Of Alexsey Belan, A Latvian Accused Of Attacking Yahoo For Russian Spies. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2017/03/20/alexsey-belan-yahoo-fbi-hacker-allegations/#558462f376f2

Dashora, K. (2011). Cyber Crime in the Society: Problems and Preventions. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences , 3 (1), 240-259.

FBI. (2017). ALEXSEY BELAN. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/cyber/alexsey-belan

Geis, G. (2000). On the absence of self-control as the basis for a general theory of crime:. Theoretical Criminology , 4 (1), 35-53.

Harper, L. (2014). The Four Theories of Victimization. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://soapboxie.com/government/The-Four-Theories-of-Victimization

Jain, N. (2014). Cyber crime changing everything – An empirical study". International Journal of Computer Application , 4 (1).

McNab, C. (2017). Alexsey’s TTPs. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://medium.com/alphasoc/alexseys-ttps-1204d9050551

Meier, R. F., & Miethe, T. D. (1993). Understanding Theories of Criminal Victimization. Chicago Journals , 17, 459-499.

Njoroge, C. I. (2014). General theories of crime. Researchgate .

Pratt, T. C. (2015). A Self-Control/Life-Course Theory of Criminal Behavior. European Journal of Criminology , 13 (1).

Reyns, B. W. (2017). General Opportunity Victimization Theories. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195396607/obo-9780195396607-0229.xml#obo-9780195396607-0229-bibItem-0008

Saini, H., Rao, Y. S., & Panda, T. C. (2012). Cyber-Crimes and their Impacts: A Review. International Journal of Engineering Research , 2 (2), 202-209.

Straitstimes. (2017). Cyberthief who broke into Yahoo. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/cyberthief-who-broke-into-yahoo

Vazsonyi, A. T., & Pickering, L. E. (2001). An empirical test of a general theory of crime: a four-nation comparative study of self-control and the prediction of deviance. Journal of research in crime and delinquency , 38 (2), 91-131.

Zaykowski, H., & Campagna, L. (2014). Teaching Theories of Victimology. Journal of Criminal Justice Education ` , 25 (4), 452-457.

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