Virtual Crime

Why isn’t cyberspace a sanctuary from the real world’s problems? New Scientist reports that a man has been arrested for using unbeatable bots in an online computer game to attack and mug the virtual avatars of human players. After stealing their virtual valuables, he turned around and sold them on an online auction site.

The article mentions rumors about escalating bot wars and organized syndicates behind other virtual attacks. But another article, this time on Wired, suggests that we might want to be careful before jumping to conclusions. Is this an isolated case or the end of Internet innocense (it was never innocent). In the Wired article, the reporter wonders where all the evidence is for organized crime and terrorist being behind pirated media.

Are we creating monsters where none exist? The answer will likely be yes. We do that all the time. But some monsters truly do exist, and it is certain that those who commit crime in the real world will not hesitate to do so in cyberspace. Where all this leads puts the “future” in the future.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), his (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).