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Computer Crimes

Essay by 24  •  June 5, 2011  •  1,265 Words (6 Pages)  •  790 Views

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Computers are electronic devices designed to accept data, perform multiple tasks at high speed and display results. Over the last twenty years, a technological revolution has occurred, as computers are now an essential element of today's society. Large computers are used to track reservations for the airline industry, process billions of dollars for banks, manufacture products for industry, and conduct major transactions for businesses because more and more people now have computers at home and at the office. True that the computers have revolutionized the world in the way we do things but also has the crime committed with them attained monumental proportions and laws must be passed to address the increase in their numbers and types.

Definitions of computer crime have changed over the years as the users and misuse of computers have expanded into new areas. When computers were first introduced into businesses, computer crime was defined simply as a form of white-collar crime committed inside a computer system. Today the crimes have increased from sending viruses which are hidden codes put into a computer program, just to prove they can develop worms to destroy

computer companies to identity theft and fraud where millions of dollars are lost by individuals, companies and government. They are logic bombs implanted so that the perpetrators do not have to be present physically. Today computer crimes take on many forms. Swindling or stealing of money is one of the most common computer crime, an example of this kind of crime is the "Well Fargo Bank" that discovered an employee was using the banks computer to embezzle $21.3 million, it is the largest U.S. electronic bank fraud on record. These crimes are increasing due principally to society's declining ethical standards more than any economic need.

The profile of today's non-professional thieves cuts across boundaries of race, age groups and economic strata. Computer criminals tend to be relatively honest and in a position of trust: few would do anything to harm another human, and most do not consider their crime truly dishonest. Computer Criminals range between the ages of 14-30 yrs; they are usually bright, eager, highly motivated, adventurous and willing to accept technical challenges. It is tempting to liken computer criminals to other criminals, ascribing characteristics somehow different from 'normal' individuals, but that is not the case because I believe that the computer criminal often marches to the same drum as the potential victim but follows an unanticipated path. There is no actual profile of a computer criminal because they range from young teens to elders, from black to white, from short to tall. According to experts, gender is the only bias, as most are males while women act as accomplices, though of late they are becoming more aggressive.

Business organizations dealing with processing information wish that the computer security nightmare would vanish like a fairy tale. Information processing organizations accounted for $33 billion in services in 1983, and in 1988 accounted to be $88 billion. All this information is vulnerable to greedy employees, nosy-teenagers and general carelessness, yet no one knows whether the sea of computer

crimes is only as big as the Gulf of Mexico or as huge as the North Atlantic. Vulnerability is likely to increase in the future and by the turn of the Century, nearly all of the software to run computers could be bought from street vendors rather than being developed and procured under strict and standardized process. .

On print and electronic media, a new mythology is gaining a very fast popularity in which computer criminals are the "Butch Cassidy" of the electronic age. These true tales of computer capers are far from being futuristic fantasies; in fact, scores of real life cases inspire them. These crimes are not just crimes against the computer, but theft of money, information, software, benefits, welfare and many more. With the average damage from a computer crime amounting to about $.5 million, sophisticated computer crimes can ruin any industry, albeit nations.

Credit Card frauds are also a type of computer crime. This scares many people and for good reasons because their credit history is ruined by identity theft. Identity thieves use computer to access credit databases and illegally obtain the credit history of the institution into which they hack. They used names and credit information from the database to apply for credit cards. Recently a hacker who was caught used a neighbor's information to apply for various Master and Visa Cards and he used the cards to issue himself at least $40,000 in cash from a number

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