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A computer is an electronic device that can receive a set of instructions, or program, and then carry out this program by performing calculations on numerical data or by compiling and correlating other forms of information. The modern world of technology could not have come about without the development of the computer. Different types and sizes of computers find use throughout society in the storage and handling of data, from secret government files to private household accounts. Computers have opened up a new era in manufacturing through the techniques of automation, and they have enhanced modern communication systems. They are essential tools in almost every field of research and applied technology, from constructing models of the universe to producing tomorrow's weather reports, and their use has opened up new areas of conjecture. Database services and computer networks make a great variety of information sources available. The same advanced techniques also make invasions of privacy and of restricted information sources possible, but computer crime has become one of the many risks that society must face to enjoy the benefits of modern technology. Imagine a world without computers. That would mean no proper means of communication, no internet, and no video games. Life would be extremely difficult. People would have to store all their office paperwork and it could take up an entire room. Students would have to submit course-work and projects hand-written. All graphs and diagrams would have to be drawn neatly and carefully. Youngsters would never have heard of video games and will have to spend their free time either reading or playing outside with friends. Various types of people commit computer crimes, the two most familiar being hackers and crackers. A hacker is a person who enjoys exploring the details of a programmable system and how to stretch their capabilities; one who programs enthusiastically, even obsessively. A cracker is one who breaks security on a system. Although hackers and crackers both break into computer systems, their motives are different. Hackers seem to break into computer systems for the intellectual challenge. Crackers are considered malicious with the intention of harming or causing damage to a computer system. The motivations behind crackers' actions are profits, revenge, or a mixture of the two. Other computer criminals include terrorists, company competitors, and aggravated employees. Aggravated employees are a company's worst nightmare since they have easy access to the company’s system, and are usually fired or leave on bad terms. Competitors will often do whatever is necessary to get an edge on their industry leaders by riffling through their competitors' trash, bugging phone lines, and now breaking into their competitors' networks in an attempt to gather inside information. Terrorists are becoming more computer literate because they realize the amount of information regarding the government defense are stored and found on computers. Terrorists are also targeting technology and utility companies because they realize the damage caused would be wide spread and devastating. How are computer crimes committed? Break-in methods include altering input, theft of computer time, software theft, data theft/modification and output theft. The most common method of committing computer crimes is altering input. In order to alter input, the criminal only needs to know how the system works and how to cover their trail. A good example would be an employee in charge of payroll keeping another employee’s record on the payroll after their termination in order to collect paychecks. Stealing business time occurs when one uses a company's computer for personal use such as an employee’s running a side business or keeping personal records on an employer’s computer or playing computer games at work. This frequent occurrence in the workplace takes time from productivity, costing the company money. Computer criminals...
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