Cyber Crime

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Computer Crime and e-Evidence

What is the link between the development of technology and criminal offences?

Trends are developing to shift the nature of crimes from traditional to Hi-Tech and it is impossible to prevent people from misusing technology to commit crimes. Computer or networks may be used as a tool or a storage medium to commit crimes. In the meantime, we must keep in mind that all computers related systems are vulnerable to destruction and intrusion. As a result some authors classify computer crimes under three areas such as :

1.Computer related offences – the accused uses the computer/network as tool/s to commit offences.

2. Computer integrated offences – the accused commits offences through Computer/system/programme e.g. modification by virus, Trojan horse etc.

3. Contents related offences – the accused changes/destroys data e.g. offences relating to intellectual property.

Under these circumstances, application of new methodology to investigate and seizure of data stored in Computer hardware, software, communication devices, or any other forms, its forensic issues will play a vital role relating to Computer Crimes.

What is the legal position on Computer Crimes in Sri Lanka?

The Parliament of Sri Lanka has enacted the long awaited Computer Crime Act and that was gazetted on the 13th July 2007. However, there is no implementation of the Act up to date due to various shortcomings of the Administration of the country such as public unawareness of the existence of the Act, shortage of experts, trained Police officers to investigate offences under the Act, non-availability of computer forensic laboratories.

What are the major Offences under the Computer Crime Act?

Part I of the Act explains the offences relating to cyber crimes. These offences are common offences (subject to some variations) identified and recognised internationally.

What is Computer hacking ?

Section 3 of the Act deals with ‘unauthorised access’ to any computer or information held in any computer. This offence is called computer hacking in general.

What is Computer cracking?

Section 4 of the Act has introduced the offence of unauthorised access with an intention to commit an offence. The prosecution has to prove that the accused had the intention of committing an offence under this Act or any other law for the time being in force in addition to the aforesaid items (a) to (d) under Section 3 of the Act for the accused to be found guilty. This offence is called computer cracking in general.

These two sections have covered a wide range of possible illegal actions in which the computer hackers and computer crackers are involved. Explanation to section 3 and 4 states that the mere turning on of a computer is sufficient to fulfill access to any computer and it is not necessary to have unauthorised access directed at any particular programme, data or computer, to access information held in any computer. e.g. Sniffing and Phishing.

What is Unauthorised Modification under the Act?

Section 5 of the Act has introduced the offence of causing a computer to perform a function without the lawful authority.

Prosecution has to prove;

a.Accused has caused a computer to perform any function,

b.He has done so intentionally and without the lawful authority,

c.He has done so with the knowledge or having reason to believe that such function will result in:

(i).unauthorised modification or damage or potential damage:

(ii)to any computer, computer system or computer programme.

Illustrations given under this section have given a broad view of the offence.

Explanation states ‘for the purposes of paragraphs (a) to (d) above, it is immaterial whether the consequences referred to therein were of a temporary or permanent nature.’

Transmitting of viruses (a malicious programme) from a computer to another or computer system to perform a function of such computer or...
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