Definition of computer crime
Computer crime or Cyber Crime as it is also called is the use of computers and the internet to violate criminal laws requiring the knowledge of computer technology for its perpetration. Computer crime includes traditional criminal acts committed with a computer, as well as new offences that lack any parallels with non-computer crimes including internet-related forgery, embezzlement, software & media piracy, fraud, vandalism, identity theft and the disposal of stolen goods among many others. Some references differentiate between computer crime and net-crime, categorising that computer crime involves a computer or network but not specifically the internet while net-crime defines crimes committed over the internet using a computer or other device that provides access to the www . (Cyber Awareness Program & Stair & Reynolds)
In this topic we will be discussing six computer crimes and how they are committed. We will also look at laws that protect users against these specific crimes. At the end, we will look at ways in which users and corporations can protect themselves against computer crimes physically, using software, electronically and what controls management can implement to safeguard company IS infrastructure. At the end, we will explain ways in which individuals as well as company management can safeguard against computer crime.
1) Hackers attacking organisations' Information Systems
This is defined as the unorthodox access to private computer system by an individual or group in order to gain information, a prominent status, experiment or simply to explore or cause damage. This however under the Computer Misuse Act of 1990, The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 among others, is an illegal activity since it violates regulations on Unauthorised Access to Computer Material as well as Human Rights laws of Privacy.
There are many variations and intensities of this crime but mainly this is a threat aimed at corporations, usually large organisations with large information systems. A common type of hackers who operate on what is referred to as the Robin Hood Syndrome are those who attack computer systems of organisations they feel deserve to loose information in order to serve the criminal themselves, the community or to just punish the company. This has caused divisions among law-makers, computer use governing boards like the British Computer Society and companies because there is no clear cut separation between what is unethical and what is illegal in most cases. Using Jennifer Wagner's taxonomy system of categorisation of the four states of existence (table in below), this particular scenario would be argued to be number 2-An act that is Ethical but illegal.
An act that is ethical and legal
An act that is ethical but not legal
An act that is not ethical but is legal
An act that is not ethical and not legal
Table 1: taxonomy of laws and ethics guiding computer laws (Jennifer Wagner 1991)
Throughout we will be using this taxonomy system to categories the individual real life cases we will outline for each crime. In the past, theft of data, denial of service and viruses and natural disasters where the main security concerns for many large and medium companies but now the concern of hackers has overtaken these. Due to this fear, most organisations have top security both physically and electronically for all segments of the company IS with every installation working behind highly protective access controls and firewalls.
Since the September 11 terror attacks on the USA, it has become more obvious that terrorists will use any tool to terrorise nations attacking different sectors to paralyse it. This means there is a high risk of terrorists and criminals hacking into large national corporations to disrupt trade and function thus...