As the Internet came into widespread commercial use, the nature of computer crimes began to shift. ‘While in some crimes, one component of the crime may have been committed using an electronic instrument, in other crimes, the crime as a whole is committed in the online or electronic environment. These crimes, known as cybercrimes, generally occur in the virtual community of the Internet or in cyberspace. Hence, 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 fraud targeted at them. To achieve the aim of the study, survey research methods using questionnaire as the major instrument; was distributed to the student of the University in the execution of the study. Samples selected using the systematic random sampling techniques; Chi-square and simple percentage, used in analyzing the data. The study therefore, exposes various cybercrimes in the country as well the causes, effects and possible solutions to the menace of these various cybercrimes.
Keywords: Information Technology, cyber-crime, Countermeasures, Fraud, Cyber Criminals, Anonymous, Perception, Law Enforcement, Questionnaires, Chi-Square, Cyber Space
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Information technology is vast growing aspect of civilization. Internet especially is an aspect of information technology that enables us to communicate with one another globally irrespective of the country and the continent within a twinkle of an eye. More and more, development strategies are based on the need for developing countries to embrace information technology both as a way to avoid further economic and social marginalization as well as to offer opportunities for both growth and diversification of their economies. The economy of most nations in the world is accessible through the aid of electronic via the internet. Since the electronic market is opened to everybody (which also includes eavesdroppers and criminals), false pretence finds a fertile ground in this situation. The invention of electronic devices such as modern communication hard-wares, internet service and computer systems has been a major landmark in human history.
Some individuals in Nigeria have embraced cyber-crime as a way of life. Many have become rich while some others have been caught by the law (Tade and Aliyu, 2011). This new crime is denting and drilling holes in the economy of the nation. For example, in a recent report by the Internet Crime Complaint Center which is a partnership between the FBI and America’s National White Collar Crime Center, revealed that Nigeria now ranked third among the list of top ten sources of cybercrime in the world (Abdulhamid et al, 2011). Also the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its banking sector supervision report revealed that the Nigeria banking sector lost 7.2 billion naira to internet fraud (Ajewole, 2010). Losing 7.2 billion naira in a developing economy such as ours is not something to be proud about. Apart from the destruction cyber-crime does to the economy, it also leads to the erosion of confidence in genuine Nigerian commercial credibility and today many western countries with France taking the lead have moved to deny Nigerian businessmen and women who are legitimate the rewards of e-commerce. France today requires web camera verification for most online business transactions from Nigeria (Longe and Chiemeke, 2018).
In Africa, cybercrime has been indigenously named. For instance, in Nigeria, it is called Yahoo yahoo while the perpetrators are called yahoo boys. In Ghana, it is called ‘Sakawa’ or ‘Yahoo yahoo’ ‘Faymania’ in Cameroon (Oumarou 2017). In Nigeria, the majority of cybercriminals are young people and are found in universities. Yahoo boys are youths involved in cybercrime using electronic e-mails. This social tag originated via the mode employed by yahoo boys in defrauding, which involves sending sinister and deceptive e-mails using hotmail, gmail, yahoo mail and the likes. Alubo (2011) informs us that the web has created a platform for fraudsters to engage in advance-fee-fraud via the sending of spam e-mails. This act, he notes, is called 419, and the perpetrators called yahoo boys. They usually make use of free e-mail accounts (e.g., Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail etc.) to communicate with their targets. Studies have been conducted on the emergence of the yahoo boys subculture the social organization of Internet fraud in Nigeria (Tade and Aliyu 2011), ICT and perpetration of cybercrime and the cost and attractiveness of cybercrime (Kshetri 2016). In a somewhat similar study conducted in Ghana, Warner (2011, 744) reports the use of a klepto-theological paradigm, created to abet the perpetration of Internet crime.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The contribution of the internet to the development of the nation; has been marred by the evolution of new waves of crime. The internet has become an environment where the most lucrative and safest crime thrives. Cybercrime has become a global threat from Europe to America, Africa to Asia and to other parts of the world. Cybercrime has come as a surprise and a strange phenomenon that now lives with us in Nigeria. With each passing day, we witness more and more alarming cases of cybercrimes in Nigeria, with each new case more shocking than the one before.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions are as follows:
1.4 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main aim of this study is to investigate the challenges, causes and effects of cybercrime in Nigeria and to proffer possible solutions to the different cases of cybercrimes. To achieve the stated aim, the following specific objectives was observed
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The research hypotheses to be tested include:
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study sought to investigate the several cases of cybercrime in the country and also to investigate the causes, effects and to proffer possible solutions to the different cases of cybercrimes. The study will of great help to the government as it will provide lasting solutions to the menace of cybercrimes in the country. It will also serve as a foundation upon which further researches will be made.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the young adults and the middle adults in some selected local government areas in Lagos state. This is because Lagos state is used as a case study.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher was faced with time constraint as there researcher was involved in other academic works as at the time this study was carried out.
1.9 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Cybercrime: Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (networks including but not limited to Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (Bluetooth/SMS/MMS)
Computer crime: This can be broadly defined as criminal activity involving an information technology infrastructure, including illegal access or unauthorized access; illegal interception that involves technical means of non-public transmissions of computer data to, from or within a computer system; data interference that include unauthorized damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration or suppression of computer data; systems interference that is interfering with the functioning of a computer system by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data; misuse of devices, forgery (ID theft), and electronic fraud
Countermeasures: These are strategic steps taken by individuals, organisations or governments to address issues that can lead to loss of lives or properties.
Fraud: this is a deceit trickery or breach of confidence used (by one person) to gain unfair and dishonest advantage (over another).