Cybercrime dominates during pandemic

The Public Security Department said they recorded a spike in cybercrimes in 2020 that experts attributed mostly to more free time spent at home. (Photo: Unsplash)
AMMAN — Jordan’s crime rate fell last year, while the pandemic sparked a rise in cybercrimes, according to a recent study released by the Public Security Department.اضافة اعلان

The crime rate fell in 2020 by approximately 14.95 percent compared to 2019. The number of reported cases in 2020 totaled 22,556 compared to 26,521 cases in 2019.

According to security experts who spoke to Jordan News, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased concerns about cyberattacks targeting hospitals, companies, food supplies, and other vital sectors.

With the spread of the virus, widespread reliance on home-based technologies and the wider use of online services, such as video meetings, online shopping, and the use of applications was an opportunity for hackers to launch cyberattacks and other online crimes.

The Public Security Department’s spokesperson told Jordan News that cybercrimes have increased since the pandemic, especially those related to the spread of rumors, as well as electronic defamation, cyberbullying, and hate speech.

“The state of cybercrime, like other crimes, has a negative impact on society and (there are) economic losses as a result of electronic financial fraud,” he said.

Hussain Khuzaie, a sociologist, told Jordan News that having more time at home due to the curfew may have led to the increase in cybercrimes.

“People who commit such crimes have much more free time and spend this time using the internet,” he explained

The sociologist added that cyber economic crimes were also prevalent. “This is a result of the hard economic situation, thus the rise in unemployment and poverty, especially during the pandemic,” he said.

Khuzaie emphasized that people must be more careful when using the internet and social media. “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you do not want to be in trouble especially in these hard times,” he said.

Retired Brig. Gen. Hashem Al-Majali, told Jordan News that compared to traditional crime, cybercrimes are relatively straightforward to commit.

Committing a crime used to require that someone uses a car or other equipment, whereas with “cybercrime, you just sit in your place, and you will only need your laptop and internet access,” he said.

Majali warned that publishing private pictures and information over social media platforms may expose anyone to cybercrime and put them in danger. “The availability of one’s private information at anytime and anywhere over social media platforms contributed to the increase of cybercrimes,” he said.

Mohammad Al-Saket, an attorney that specializes in cybercrimes, told Jordan News that the majority of cybercrime cases he dealt with were cyber defamation cases involving young people.

“Parents should pay more attention to their children,” he said. “I get so many cyber defamation cases, and the majority of criminals are young people who do not really know what they are indulging in.”

“There are restrictive laws that charge those criminals, they need to be careful.”

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