To some, white collar crime can be a confusing concept because it covers a broad range of high-level financial actions. Additionally, as technology continues to advance there are always new wrinkles or glitches that an individual could exploit for financial or personal gain. The latest concept fusion results in what experts refer to as white-collar cybercrime.
Individuals accused of white-collar crimes are generally distant from their victims and often heavily rely on a variety of communication tools. Historically, white collar crimes encompassed things like fraud, bribery, identity theft, insider trading and embezzlement. The advent of computers decades ago has forced individuals to adopt an entirely new skillset to the point that, in many cases, computers are now a necessary tool.
What does this fusion mean?
In recent years, the notion of white-collar crime and cybercrime has blended, merged and overlapped to a degree they are often considered two sides of the same coin. It is not uncommon for a data breach to result in identity theft, credit card fraud or insider trading. In many instances, these activities would be impossible at this level without the use of computers and other online or digital advances.
Examples of white-collar cybercrimes
While the list will likely evolve continuously as technology advances, there are certain examples of white-collar cybercrime that are commonly known, including:
- Intellectual property or trade secret theft: Gone are the days of a company locking away its secrets in a dusty, room-sized vault. Businesses now store this material on a computer hard drive, in a secure cloud or behind rotating passwords with two-factor authentication.
- Phishing and social engineering: These online activities are geared toward uncovering passwords, security information and login data.
- Computer intrusion: This type of crime is typically what popular media explores and terms “hacking.” When an individual gains access to another individual’s computer through remote means, this is known as computer intrusion. People perform this activity to unlock sensitive material, reveal private information or uncover financial data.
For the most part, illegal activity made possible using online, digital or internet channels is generally referred to as a cybercrime. These non-violent, financially motivated activities that are accomplished online are now referred to as white-collar cybercrimes. This fusion forces the legal process to struggle down a complex path as new advances make new actions possible while the law fights to stay caught up.