In the modern world the Internet is a splendid place for creating relationships, working together, building a better world, but it is not as good as it sounds as the Internet has a lot of dark sides. Billions of dollars are made a year in various cyber crimes. In spite of a high level of technology, which has made our life easier, computer crimes cause various problems. Development of technologies creates the situation in which everything should adapt. Crimes and criminals adapt to the current situation as well. Becoming more integrated with the computer society displaying more and more information online, some businesses are conducted only online. It attracts criminals as cyber crimes make it possible get away easily.
Operations of financial institutions, governments and various companies are controlled by information which is inside computers. This information may be used stolen and used for personal purposes. Computer crimes are considered to be activities using information technology in order to gain unauthorized or illegal access to a computer system to damage it, get or delete information, they include money counterfeiting, tech-savvy crimes, software privacy, virus transmission, child pornography, electronic frauds, identity theft, misuse of devices, system interference, spamming, industrial espionage, making and distributing child pornography and others. Computer crimes may also be a manipulation of critical information or confidential data, and breach of human and information privacy. Computer criminals find it easy to work in such areas as time-sharing services, credit cards, banking, software theft, theft of information. Having access to the information an intruder can send commands to delete files, shut the computer down, and upload useless information.
Unfortunately it is very difficult to detect and identify a computer crime. That is why there is no exact statistics about the amount of crime and in most cases the losses can not be calculated. But the truth is the number of computer crime is increasing rapidly. The unique nature of the Internet presents the challenges of misconduct which are not evident in the traditional milieu of law enforcement. The problems that should be overcome include jurisdiction, the vulnerability of the limitless amount of victims, applicability of existing laws, obstacles to perpetrator identification.
Transmission of computer viruses may be done in the way of spreading through computer networks or removable storage devices including floppy disks, through the non-moving spread of computer hardware devices, and through wireless communication channels or point to point communication systems, mobile devices, Anti-virus Software which is fake, instant messaging, infected software, hackers, Phishing schemes, rogue Websites etc. Computer viruses are usually attached to a file to infect a computer system. But in most cases viruses spread through file execution, manner, file copy or transfer.
The threat of a virus has been a serious problem for computer users. The problem becomes more and more urgent and is related to almost all people using computers. Quick and extensive proliferation of computer viruses is caused by exchanging emails and files through the Internet. Sometimes you send a virus without being aware of this fact.
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It is thought that a computer virus appeared in the 70’s. As computers were not widespread at that time, there was no great damage from it. Nowadays a computer virus is the worst thing that may happen to a computer. If your computer is infected by a virus, it means that it can delete all files, install malicious software, and crash the computer.
A computer virus is a program which is specially designed to be spread from one file to another, from one computer to another. The transmission mode involves human beings. A virus puts its copy in the code and modifies programs. A copy of a virus is made when the programs start running. This happens within a single system. In cases when we copy a virus infected program to a disk, it also infects the computer programs to which it was transferred. This is the most common way how computer viruses spread.
There also exist worms that are types of viruses. They are even more insidious than the viruses themselves as they do not rely on human behaviors. The worms spread themselves from a computer to a computer or over networks. Among other popular and frequently detected types of computer viruses you may find Trojan Horses, Macro and Trojan viruses, and Boot viruses.
As computer viruses may have many mutants, they are getting more virulent and deadly. The example of computer virus may be the so called ‘Love Bug’. The virus and its imitators ruined the computer of everyone who opened the email attachment “ILOVEYOU”. The virus made damage not only to the private sector, but also to government communications worldwide. It led to the damage that was estimated from hundreds of millions of dollars to 10 billion dollars.
In spite of the fact that computer viruses attack only files, but not computer’s hardware, every computer use must be aware not to be transmitted any computer virus and not to send it to anyone. Computer virus transmission is a crime that leads to the attack of the files that operate computer’s hardware, reformatting of hard drives, deleting of video drivers or stopping the running of the operating system.
Malevolent viruses are designed to do damage and to crash an entire system. In some cases these viruses are specially written to destroy certain data or specific application programs. The impact of a computer virus is limitless as it depends only on the criminal who designs it. Viruses are also used to destroy investigative information and law enforcement computers. There is a great concern among government people as they think that viruses can infect computers of their defense system. In order to prevent computer virus infection you should install anti-virus software, stay away from unsolicited email attachments, back up files from a computer on external media, and never use pirated software as it is one of the most common ways of spreading computer viruses.
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Software piracy is a great issue which costs software vendors millions of dollars. Being a violation of the copyright law, pirated software is a great business. This computer crime has international scopes. One of the greatest problems is that a lot of people do not take copyright laws seriously and share games or office software with their friends. Another problem is that proprietary programs are often stolen. Spending millions of dollars on developing a special program the company even does not assume that the same program is a useful tool in the hand of competitors.
Software piracy is unauthorized and not licensed reproduction, copying or distribution of any software. It can also be selling installing copies on work or home computers. When you buy a product you buy a license to use it, not the software. When you make more copies than it is allowed by the license, you break the law and you are pirating. It does not matter whether you buy it, make copies for friends, download pirated software form the Internet, install it on computers, all the activities are copyright infringement.
There are different types of software piracy such as Internet software piracy (exchanging of software on the Internet), counterfeit software (producing face copies), softlifting (sharing of program with unauthorized user), renting (renting out the copy of a software without permission), hard disk loading (loading software onto a computer and selling to the end user), and OEM unbundling (selling of software which was meant to be with a certain accompanying product), CD-R piracy (copying of software with the help of CD-R recording technology), unrestricted client access (copying of a software program onto the server or network of an organization), end-user piracy (copying of possessing software without having a license for each copy), manufacturer piracy (copying software on multiple computers), online auction piracy (reselling software), and others (Identify Piracy to Protect Business, Educate Customers n.d.).
The losses which were caused by software piracy affect the size of income the software industry gets. As a result there is not enough money to develop new products, to invest in marketing, and to do more research. Those who use pirated software do not think about functioning which is not always correct, they are not always protected, the software may be outdated, are exposed to a debilitating virus, have no customer support and others (Consequences of Software Piracy n.d.). Illegal use of such software can result in fines or legal consequences, their programs can be infected by viruses and different forms of malware.
Thus, software piracy is bad for the user and the software industry. The evidence is that software piracy exists in businesses, government offices, homes, and schools. Unfortunately this kind of crime cannot be stopped. The global nature of the Internet makes it difficult to enforce the copyright laws. Not all countries respect the law and the percentage of the piracy varies in relevance to a geographic location. If an offender is located in the country which does not respect copyrighting, it is almost impossible to enforce penalties against software pirates.
Identity theft is in the list of the top five computer crimes and is considered one of the most serious frauds as it includes stealing money and getting other benefits using a false identity. Identity theft is an undermining of confidence in individual privacy and commercial transactions. It is when someone gets access to your computer and with the help of fraudulent activities uses it for a personal benefit. Identity theft ranges from getting access to your security number to stealing the password and login of your online banking account. When the criminal is armed with someone’s personal information, he makes purchases, opens new accounts, and commits offenses in someone’s name. The criminal may also take out loans, take trips, rent cars and apartments, obtain credit cards and a lot of other activities which increase the income of a criminal and create huge debts for the personal information owner. Some services store private information of customers. It is done for the customers’ convenience, but has a lot of risks. Vendors should be sure that their staff would not abuse this information.
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A lot of people do not even guess how easily can criminals commit their crimes and obtain someone’s personal data. It is not necessary to break into someone’s house, it is necessary to visit public places. In order to get needed information criminals listen to our conversations in phone boxes or watch when you punch the number of your credit card. People who face the problem of identity theft must cope with debts, troubles while renting or buying property, ruined credit histories, problems with finding employment, and bad reputation. You may prevent fraudulent actions in the way of making sure that the system of payment uses an Address Verification Service (checks the postcode, number of the house, statement address of a card holder), that website is secured, Card Security Code is requested, automated cross-checks are introduced into the payment process.
People who are engaged into identity theft often walk near your garbage cans or common trash bin to find copies of your checks, bank accounts, credit cards with the aim to get your name, address and telephone number. This information makes it easier to assume your identity.
Thus, the Internet has become a fruitful place of becoming identifying data and provides people involved in this type of crime efficient and low-cost methods to catch victims. Having enough information about a person, criminal assume the person’s identity and commit different crimes. Here belong obtaining goods and privileges, fraudulent use if telephone calling cards and credit cards, false loans and credit card application, fraudulent withdrawal of money from a bank account. There are concerns that the growing threat of fraud may put a stranglehold on the e-commerce. The statistics shows that during the five years card thefts have decreased but fraudulent possessions of card details have increased.
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There exist such incidents of child sexual exploitation as luring, child sex tourism, child pornography, child prostitution. The problem is that over 90% of the mentioned incidents are committed by people who are known and trusted in the child’s family among them parents, parents’ they are friends, other relatives, neighbors, teachers, coaches. According to statistics the income of child pornography industry may reach over 6 billion dollars a year.
It has been not long ago when it was decided to protect children from sexual exploitation. It was in 1978 when the first law concerning child pornography was passed, but the first laws related to child pornography and computers were passed only in 1988. The 1980s marked the appearance of the Internet and dramatic change in the nature and scale of the child pornography issue which caused the need in new ways approaches of investigation and control. The Internet has made the situation of crime related child pornography worse as it makes it easier to access, distribute and increase the amount of production.
The component of the problem and the crime itself consist of three components, they are production, distribution, and images downloading. In many cases the same criminals are involved in all components of the crime. But producers usually are motivated only by getting financial benefit from it. It is impossible to calculate in the extent of the child pornography production and the scopes of the crime, but there is lots of evidence that points the crime being an immense and growing problem.
Child pornography is a visual depiction (including film, video, photograph, picture, computer image etc.) of sexual conduct where visual depiction products include the use of even minor engaging into sexual conduct or the image is in a digital, computer or indistinguishable form with a minor engaging into sexual conduct. Images with child pornography exist in different formats such as film, DVD, CD-ROM, videotape, print media and others. These products are transmitted within the Internet (e-mail, bulletin boards, instant messaging, File Transfer Protocol, websites, Internet Relay Chat, social networking sites newsgroups, and peer-to-peer networks) (Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section n.d.).
Owners and distributors of drawings, cartoons, paintings, and sculptures with the depictions of any child engaged into sexual conduct are punished by federal law. The problem is that it is very difficult to trace the criminals as many of the sites exist for a very short period of time, then they shut down and the trade takes place at the levels of the Internet which are hidden. People engaged into this crime have different kinds of motives, sometimes they are sexually curious and download imaged only because of curiosity, want to get financial profit from selling images or distributing them, or sexually interested in children and adolescents. It is researched that people engaged into this type of crime had different incomes, level of education, age, and marital status.
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The Internet gives child pornography offenders an opportunity to form networks and forums where they can share their experience, desires and interests. Such activities promote communication between offenders and attract new people to want to get involved into the business or interest of sexual exploitation of children.
Despite severe statutory penalties which are faced by those who produce, distribute, receive, import, or possess images of child pornography, there are lots of people who are lured the money which can be earned working in this type of business. The Internet sphere gives child molesters an opportunity to look for their victims sitting at home and pretending that they are the same age as the child. They may stalk a child in the library, at school or at home. This secrecy and anonymity is also an advantage to law enforcers as they pretend to be children and in this way trace criminals.
Thus, the crime of child pornography is large in scopes covering local, national and international levels. The efforts of law enforcement personnel, together with the private sector, legislators, parents, civil servants, teachers, and students make important steps toward the solution of this problem.
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At the times of rapid development of technologies and global computerization humanity faces a lot of challenges, which have turned into a serious threat to social well-being and economic. Computers have added to the dimension of a criminal law. They present many issues for law enforcement which cannot be solved at all or require resources. Sometimes data are so encrypted, that it is difficult for police to make put the context.
Being a comparatively young phenomenon, a computer crime is not studied enough, though its scopes are international. It is known that computer criminals make damages to individuals and businesses which cost billions. The Internet is also an issue that is of national security concern. Computers serve the leading role in the delivery of banking, transportation, telecommunications, government operations, emergency services, and energy. Development of technologies leads to law developments which aim to deter those who misuse or abuse the technology.
In spite of immense efforts businesses, computer crimes cannot be stopped. Such crimes can result in loss of time or employment, sometimes even loss of dignity and life. Being not a place without crime theInternet is not also a place where you feel yourself helpless. There are lots you can do in order to prevent computer crimes. Preventing the crime is much easier than solving problems which resulted from computer crimes.