Computer Crimes

Computer Crimes Alicia Brown Computer Literacy 103 Professor Sally Rogers October 9, 2008 A computer crime would be defined as criminal activity where a computer or network is the source or place of a crime. Computer crimes have become more common in todays society. In the old days people would rob banks to get a pay out, nowadays people are committing crimes through computers. Besides the obvious difference, computer crimes have a much larger pay out than the old fashioned bank robbery.

Someone who may rob a bank could walk away (that’s if they get away) with couple hundred thousand, someone who commits a crime through the network will walk away (they usually get away) with millions. Personally I believe the reason for increasing computer crimes is because so many are unaware of them. It has been estimated that 85-95 percent of computer crimes are not even detected. That is a lot of crimes and money that we are not even aware of. If agencies who strictly work on detecting crimes over the network are unaware of them, then the likely-hood of the public having known is about a zero chance.

With the internet ecoming ever so popular each day, it is the perfect “neighborhood” for a criminal to invest their time in picking the perfect crime. Let us also face the facts; the criminals are too aware of the chances of getting themselves caught. There are many different types of computer crimes. The five main types are identity theft, malicious code, child pornography, online predators, and software piracy. Each is very different but equally important. They each hurt someone in some way even if it isn’t a direct harm.

Identity theft is something all Americans fear. It is stimated that about nine million Americans have their identity stolen each year. When identity theft happens, it takes years to fix the damage that has been done. To break it down identity theft is when someone uses personal information to commit fraud or other crimes. Your personal information may be a social security number or it could be a credit card number. Either way when personal information is given out without permission from the person it belongs, a crime is being committed.

There are six common ways thieves go about stealing identities. First is referred ersonal information on it. Secondly is skimming, which is when they steal debit and credit card numbers by using some type of storage device when the card is being processed. Thirdly, is called phishing. This is when the thief pretends to be some sort of financial institution or company and they send spam to your e-mail trying to get personal information. Fourthly, they will change the person’s address which will divert their bills and mail toa different address.

Fifthly there is what they call good ole fashioned stealing. This involves stealing wallets, purses, bank and credit card tatements, pre-approved credit offers, tax information, or they will even bribe or blackmail the people who access to this type of information. Lastly, is something called pretexting. Pretexting refers to when they use false pretenses to obtain personal information from financial institutions. There are ways people can try and prevent identity theft from happening to them. Some ways may be watching what is put into the trash can.

Never throw away information with personal information on it, if so shred the information first so the information cannot be made out or place easily back together. Malicious code is another type of computer crime. It is a rather new crime, and threat to the public. It is similar to a virus, but cannot be easily controlled by anti- virus software. Unlike a virus, a malicious code can be auto-executable applications. Codes can cause network and mail server overloads by sending e-mails, stealing data and passwords, deleting documents, and even reformatting hard drives.

Child pornography is the depicting of children in a state of undressing, or engaging in erotic poses or sexual activity. Although it is hard to imagine anyone participating in these type of events it happens much too often. In fact child pornography is Just the beginning. It has been noted that 70% of those who view child pornography were child molesters. When using the term child, the crime doesn’t only apply to those little ones, it applies to anyone under the legal age of 18. Online predators are those who deceive others to believe they are not who they really are in order to harm them in some way and fashion.

Online predators may be a man or women many years older than their target crowd who chat/message younger children online. Typically they first Just exchange names and hobbies with a child, ut once they have reached a friendship status with the child they will begin digging for personal information. They want to learn about where you live, your family, friends, likes/dislikes, and what you look like. Some who are smarter than others will find out where you go to school. This way they are not meeting you at home but at school.

There have been numerous cases where children have been kid-napped, raped, and killed due to online predators. When young teens and children were asked questions about online chatting, 40% stated that online solicitors asked for a nude or sexually related photo of them. Software piracy is one of the most common types of computer crimes. Software piracy to be defined is the illegal copying of computer software. However this can industry has lost millions of dollars due to the popularity of downloading from the internet.

The downloading of the files has become so easy for the public due to two very popular programs, Lime wire and Napster. These programs allow people to download the files from online, and share files from other users who has previously downloaded them. All in all there is so much involved with the computer that we are unaware of. There are many people who are not even up to date with the computer system. That just goes to prove how many people are not aware of the type of things that can occur on their computer.

Computer crimes are becoming more and more common in todays society. With all the crimes that go undetected the public needs to become more aware of how to prevent crimes like these happening. When it comes to identity theft, keep all personal information personal. Do not share any information, and properly dispose of private document and files. Malicious codes can be tricky. Since it s not the same as a virus, keep all anti-virus software updated constantly and do weekly checks on computer hard drives.

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