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Autor: anton • September 13, 2010 • 4,468 Words (18 Pages) • 1,012 Views
A diffuse group of people often called "hackers" has been characterised as unethical, irresponsible, and a serious danger to society for actions related to breaking into computer systems. In this essay I try to construct a picture of what is and includes a computer crime as well as a portray of hackers, their concerns, and the way in which hacking takes place. What I intend to argue is that, in their majority, hackers are learners and explorers who want to help rather than cause damage. Furthermore, my research also suggests that the general practice of hacking is a part of larger conflicts that we are experiencing at every level of society and business in an information age in which many people are not computer literate. These conflicts lie on the issue of whether information should be made publicly available or not (centralise or decentralise government) and on issues of law enforcement. Hackers have raised serious issues about values and practices in an information society.
It is true that computers and telecommunication networks have become a growing aspect of our society and of course of our lives. This type of technology is used to support unlawful as well as legal activities. Personal computers and especially the Internet consist of a collection of tools, which attract people from all social classes. People like housewives, workers and chief executives. Nowadays criminals are a group of people that are also attracted by today's technology. The Internet can be used for criminal purposes in different ways: from a simple 'blackmail' to the most perplex crime like money laundering.
"Technology can be applied as easily by the criminal and terrorist as it can by the authorities; and very often the criminal has greater desire to profit from that technology than have the authorities themselves" .
Furthermore, companies, institutions and private lives, especially in western countries, are prevalent by computers, Internet and other relevant technologies. Business operations without the support of digital technology do not exist. For instance, banks distribute funds through computer networks. Banks and credit card companies are quickly adopting automated payment systems. The computers are the essential basis of this cashless society. Millions of computers are needed to operate these automated payment systems (networks). On the other hand, criminals for different reasons can use similar networks also: to hide unlawful software or to distribute illegal material such as child pornography. In these two cases we can see two opposite sides of the use of information technology. From the hacker's, and generally persons' who are related with the "digital crime", point of view computers help to carry out 'illegal activities'. From the business perspective computers are means of accomplishing 'legal activities'.
But what is really legal and illegal in today's society? There are certainly some acts like pornography, which is illegal, but sometimes we must ask ourselves about what is legal and what not.
As mentioned above Internet not only attracts individuals with different social status but commercial organisations as well. This is a great motivation for criminals whose aim is to make profit using unlawful actions. These could be computer hackers, fraudulent traders, software pirates and many more.
In this essay I will try to discuss about computer crime and hackers and how the society should take measures for the protection of individuals and organizations. This paper is a report of what I have discovered in the early stages of hacking. I have concentrated my attention in answering some questions such as: what is hacking, who are the hackers, what motivates them and what is the future of hacking. I give also some useful details about computer crime especially its definition and some important categories of it. In the second section, I will try to cover some issues such as system security. This includes all problems that are associated with decisions taken by governments and firms for security measures, which are very interesting and important for the future of the information age.
1) What is a computer crime?
Computer crime is a more serious problem than most people think it is. "According to the FBI, the average take in bank robbery is $4000; the average computer heist exceeds $400.000. The American society for industrial security calls computer-related crimes a multibillion dollar annual business" . Although a lot of people agree that computer crimes are increasing rapidly, there is a disagreement on what the computer crime involve. That is because the technology and the methods used by criminals are continuously changed. Therefore, there are various definitions. But if somebody wants to do a research about the law in different countries he/she will realise that computer is either the conveyance used to perpetrate the act or the target of the act. Thus, "computer crime consist of two kinds of activities:
a) The use of a computer to perpetrate acts of deceits, theft or concealment that are intended to provide financial business-related, property or service advantages and
b) Threats to the computer itself, such as theft of hardware or software, sabotage and demands ransom" .
Obviously, it is necessary to mention that crime vary so widely between different types of society. For example, conditions and results of crime are different in a small-scale pre-industrial society than to big modern cities. A social atmosphere is more restrict and it is difficult to get away from relatives, neighbours and so on. On the contrary, the conditions in big cities are more elastic and people have easy access to targets without encounter social criticism. They can hide behind the anonymity that large cities offer.
But who are the victims of the computer crimes? The question is not difficult to answer. We are living in a capitalistic society, which is dominated by the commercialisation. Therefore, we can say that the first target is traditionally corporations and government agencies. Every single person who owns a computer and is connected to the Internet is a potential target. There are no exceptions in cyber world.
The main reason that this happened is "anyone" can do it. Any person who is equipped with