Cyber Crime

Course Number: CRIMLJUS 7340
Course Name: Cyber Crime (Online)
Course Description:    This course will examine the forms and extent of crimes committed by computer and Internet and how these types of crimes challenge traditional approaches of investigation and prosecution. Topics will include 4th Amendment aspects of computer and cyber-crimes, the law of electronic surveillance, computer hacking, online fraud, cyber-bullying, and other computer crimes as well as encryption, online economic espionage and cyber-terrorism.
Prerequisites:    None
Level: Graduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Registration Instructions

NOTE: The information below is representative of the course and is subject to change.  The specific details of the course will be available in the Desire2Learn course instance for the course in which a student registers.


Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, you should be able to

  • Identify various definitions and typologies of cyber crime.
  • Understand specific theories of causation as related to a variety of cyber criminal and deviant online behaviors.
  • Define classifications of cyber criminals and analyze their motivations and modi operandi.
  • Understand the extent of cyber crime victimization and associated costs.
  • Assess the role of both the private sector and social control agencies in investigating, prosecuting, and preventing cybercrime.

Unit Descriptions

Unit 1
Unit 1 will introduce the student to the new wave of criminal activity that spins around computers and the Internet. Computer- or cyber criminality can take on different forms either targeting the computer of an unassuming user or committing a crime using the computer or the Internet as a tool. 

Unit 2
Unit 2 The hacking world has changed dramatically in the last 30 years, and the somehow “romantic” figure of the hacker of the 1980s is far from today’s. At the very beginning, “hackers” were computer researchers in places like MIT and Berkley. Hacking used to mean “building something" and applying new views and problem-solving approaches. The next wave of computer criminals included a computer savvy new generation that created worms and viruses to challenge themselves and others. Today, exploits are developed, traded, bought and installed primarily for financial gain. Computers are hacked, software in pirated, information stolen, and people harassed for very similar reasons as traditional criminals chose to offend. This unit will discuss the reasons behind cyber criminal activities and analyze the how motivations and incentives for computer crimes have evolved over time. The reason why the hacking phenomenon spread at the beginning of the '80s is simple: because of the business. Companies went on the market with the very first home computers, models like Commodore VIC-20 and C-64 or Sinclair ZX-Spectrum, and with the grandparents of today’s Internet routers, the “modems,” running as slow as 300 baud-bits per second! It was the beginning of the second hacker’s generation, and the most known to the public, too. It is not by chance that the general cliché image of a hacker that most people have in mind is that of a teenager, sitting at his desk in his room, typing at the keyboard of his PC, sending commands to the other side of the world. In reality, those kids who were hacking in the '80s are probably your IT Security Managers today, and the world of hacking has been replenished with different players. Most of these new players may attack the same targets, but their motivations and goals will probably differ from each others, and substantially so.

Unit 3
Unit 3 When analyzing digital evidence that a hacker or other cyber criminal left  on a computer system an investigator may ask what the overall goals of the attacker were and why he/she would run that kind of attack on the victim’s machine. The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) started in 2004 the Hackers Profiling Project (HPP) started to answer these and many other questions. The HPP research team has been able to identify nine different main categories of attackers. UNICRI uses the word “attacker” and not “hacker” because the evolution of the hacking and of cyber crime has brought together many different actors. This unit will explore and discuss the nine main attacker categories. While this list of profiles is not a complete one it is a first step in identifying computer criminals. nevertheless a very good first step.

Unit 4
Unit 4 Computers and the Internet present the law enforcement community and victim service providers with complex challenges. The proliferation of computer technology has in many ways changed, but also greatly enhanced our lives. Unfortunately, many criminals have also resorted to the Internet as a tool to prey on victims. Historically, child predators found their victims in public places where children tend to gather—schoolyards, playgrounds, movie theaters and shopping malls. Today, the Internet provides predators new and easy venues to search for unassuming children. Making contact with children through social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, chatrooms, and virtual worlds has eliminated many of the risks predators face when meeting children in person. The Internet makes it possible for them to pretend to be whoever they want to be while providing them with anonymity. This unit will explore the how the Internet has increased the victimization of children and how pedophiles and other sex offenders use cyberspace to approach and groom their victims.

Unit 5
Unit 5 In 2012 The Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, received nearly 290,000 complaints from victims. Dollar losses arising from these complaints totaled almost $ 525.5 million. Victims who reported losing money lost an average of nearly $4,600. With the increase of technology, the threat becomes greater as well. All our wireless networks and smart devices are network-based, and anything touching the network is potentially susceptible. As more and more information transitions across the network, more criminals will attempt to interfere as the information is extraordinarily valuable. This unit will assess the current situation, discuss future developments, address counter-measures and evaluate expert recommendations.

Grading Information

Assignment Possible Points
Introductory Discussion Exercises (2) 20 points
Internet Security Exercises (3) 30 points
Group Project Participation 90 points
Problem Statement, Discussion & Final Report of Group Discussion 55 points
Statement & Discussion on Cyber Security/Cyber Crime Enforcement 50 points
Research Paper & PowerPoint Presentation 120 points
Total: 365 points

Week 1 & 2: Introductory discussion exercise 2 & 3

Week 3: 3 Internet security exercises

Week 4-13: Participation in 9 group projects: You will be assigned to a group of 4-7 students and discuss a problem relevant to that week’s learning goal. Over a period of four days you are required to contribute at least 3 substantive posts that include critical comments, suggestions, ideas, and follow ups to other students’ postings.

You will be in charge of formulating a problem statement (approx. 200-300 words in length), facilitate the week-long group discussion, and produce a final report of the group discussion (2-3 pages in length) to be posted to the course forum.

Week 14: Formulate a 300-400 word statement regarding the current stand of cyber security/cyber crime enforcement, post it to the discussion forum and respond to other students’ postings.

Week 15-16: Write a 15-page research paper prepared exclusively for this course and submit an accompanying PowerPoint presentation.

Grading Scale
A 90% - 100%
B 80% - 89%
C 70% - 79%
D 60% - 69%
F 0% - 59%


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