Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

The Challenges of Cyberspace

It is more likely that while scrolling down your mobile page or computer screen, a message will be received tempting you to click an eerie software or intimidating you to deposit money to a bank account. It means that cyber criminals are hunting for benefit. If you trust to click a certain application or answer a message which gives you the good news of winning a lottery or a lion’s share in a company with no reason, you will certainly fall prey to frauds.
Cyberspace can be seen as providing new opportunities to reshape society and culture through “hidden” identities, or it can be seen as borderless communication and culture.
Cybercrime has reached an epidemic proportion and debated hotly around the globe. Two uncompromising sides are pitted against each other: advanced organizations of expert cyber criminals on the one hand, and international institutions with highly competent researchers, including legal professionals and technologists, on the other. The technology is the same, but it is the use and misuse of the technology that separates the good intentions from the sinister ones. 
There have been many but not unanimous definitions about cybercrime. It is also defined as, “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 and mobile phones.” Cybercrime may threaten a person or a nation’s security and financial health.
There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is intercepted or disclosed, lawfully or otherwise. Women are highly vulnerable to cybercrime in some countries. Debarati Halder and K. Jaishankar defines ‘cybercrime against women’ as, “Crimes targeted against women with a motive to intentionally harm the victim psychologically and physically, using modern telecommunication networks such as internet and mobile phones.” The susceptibility of Afghan women to cybercrime seems very high. Women are disturbed and intimidated largely in the country. Scores of women do not use their real names on Facebook for the fear of disturbance or intimidation.
Cyberterrorism is one of the matter of great concern for the world. Cyberterrorism in general can be defined as an act of terrorism committed through the use of cyberspace or computer resources. As such, a simple propaganda piece in the Internet that there will be bomb attacks during the holidays can be considered cyberterrorism. There are also hacking activities directed towards individuals, families, organized by groups within networks, tending to cause fear among people, demonstrate power, collecting information relevant for ruining peoples’ lives, robberies, blackmailing etc.
Cyberterrorism can be also defined as the intentional use of computer, networks, and public internet to cause destruction and harm for personal objectives. Experienced cyberterrorists who are very skilled in terms of hacking can deal massive damage to government systems, hospital records, and national security programs, often which leaves a country in turmoil and in fear of further attacks. The objectives of such terrorists may be political or ideological since this can be seen as a form of terrorism.
Terrorism online should be considered cyberterrorism when there has been fear inflicted on a group of people, whereas cybercrime is the act of committing a felony or crime online typically without the use of fear.
Recently, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has reportedly signed the bill on prevention of electronic crimes into law. It is said that the law recommends fines and imprisonment up to 20 years as punishment. Najib Nangyal, a spokesman for the IT ministry has said that police should be equipped with information about cybercrimes and judges and attorneys who were expert in the field should be involved the law’s implementation. He added that the law, if enforced, would help people get rid of negative activities on the social media and would promote the culture of positive use of technology.
In Afghanistan, there is no restriction in social media and people seek to state their feelings and judgements, based on no facts, in sarcastic way. People are humiliated and their private sphere is invaded in the worst possible way. Hence, it is believed that approving a law regarding cyberspace is really essential in Afghanistan so as to mitigate humiliating and outrageous remarks. What is more important is to put the law into force. Otherwise, only writing a set of rule on a piece of paper will never alleviate the challenges.
We need to promote broader cooperation among countries on the investigation and prosecution of cybercriminals, terrorists and hacktivist groups. We need to encourage and promote further adoption of defensive technologies, enable companies to hunt for, detect, attribute and stop cyberattacks.