Computer Crimes Computer crime started in the early 1970s and has become more and more prevalent. Some computer crime are committed by outside individuals that hack into a computer system. These are the people that usually steal data and cause data loss by vandalism. The most common kind of computer crime is espionage committed by people who work for a company, but this is also the one that you rarely hear about. They usually enter false data that will end up making money for them. Hackers are the worlds new bread of criminals and will soon pose a major threat to the U.S.
Because America has become largely a computer society everyone is at risk, experts say, and should protect information about themselves, such as credit card numbers (Bowers 54:G14). Armed with a computer rather than a gun hackers, who say theyre doing the world a favor by pointing out security loopholes, have a slew of ways to break the law (White 67:c11). Computer crime becomes a larger and more prevalent issue as there is more value to criminally gain and the stakes raise in the hackers ego game. Only seventy five computer crime prosecutions were reported in the United States in 1986, according to the National Center for Computer Crime Data in Santa Cruz, Calif. By 1989, that number jumped to 500 prosecutions.
Computer crimes that year cost businesses and banks – and, ultimately, consumers – about $500 million. “As the use of computers has increased, so has their criminal misuse” (Bowers 54:g13). Computers are used to obtain credit card numbers, which are then used! to order thousands of dollars worth of whatever the hackers want. “In recent years, individual outlaws and entire “gangs” have broken into computers all over the U.S., using their wits and wiles to pilfer and destroy data”(Behar p62). In a case of a 14 year old high school freshman who was convicted of using stolen credit card numbers to order thousands of dollars of computer equipment, and then having it shipped to a vacant house.
He obtained the stolen numbers through his computer, ordered many of the goods through his computer, and made an authentic looking purchase order on his computer when a company refused his order. This also shows that the computer can be used for more than just stealing but also in aiding in the illegal crimes (Bowers 54:G13). “Hackers charged $42,815 in telephone calls to taxpayers in one month last year, using computers to access telephone lines at Washingtons Department of Information Services in Olympia” (White 67:C11). About 6,000 U.S. Department of Defense terminals were jammed when a Cornell Universit! y graduate student unleashed a computer virus in 1989. A teenage hacker in Seattle was arrested in 1989 for charging $100,000 in telephone calls to credit card numbers he got by eavesdropping on ship-to-shore telephone calls. If people use credit, chances are a determined hacker can learn their financial secrets.
All of this shows the different ways people can use computers to hack into other computers, steal information and then cost the tax payers money. Most of the people who do these things and then get caught say that it was easy to do, and this makes you think what else they could do if they tried. “Out on the electronic ether, the bad guys are perfecting a new series of swindles, including cyberspace chain letters, computer Ponzi scams and high tech pyramid schemes (Underwood 76:B14). These scams are basically the same scams that have been going on for years, but the have now been upped to a new level by computers. Some people believe that if it is on the computer it is true.
A worldwide telephone “lottery” was pitched on one on-line service, drawing in 20,000 investors who put in $200 each. Investors were told they would make big bucks by signing up others. It was later broken up and banded as a pyramid scheme by The Securities and Exchange Commission. Securities frauds such as “pump and dump” and phony “hot stock” schemes also have been detected. In one case, a promoter was able to get investors to bid shares in a shell company from 38 cents to $7.50 in just five months.
One of the risks of all this is that anybody with a computer can get on the Internet and ! sell a product or service. These schemes have all been tried before but instead of people learning about it through mail they now find the schemes through computer, and believe they are true. Another form of computer crime that you wouldnt think of is software piracy. Software piracy is making unauthorized copies of software, which is a violation of the copyright law. Although making the copies is illegal the problem has reached epidemic proportions because many people are unaware of or simply chosen to ignore the law. The customer is allowed to make copies only for backup or archival purposes, or if additional copies are required for use on that one computer.
In 1985, Future Computing Inc. in Dallas, a unit of McGraw-Hill Information Systems Company, sent questionnaires to 70,000 households concerning software piracy. In an analysis of the 45,000 households that responded, FCI conservatively reports that there is one pirated copy of software in use for every copy authorized by the publisher. Future Computing estimates that piracy cost the industry $1.3 billion in lost revenues between 1981 and 1984. Assuming approximately twenty five percent of the unautho! rized copies represent packages that would have been purchase, it is estimated that the revenue lost in 1985 was $800 million more.
A major part of software piracy is done between high school and collage students. Other students need a program and know a friend that has the program so they just let them copy it. They fell why should they pay $50, $250, or even $500 for a program when they can get a copy of it for the price of a blank disk. A student in Denver freely admitted that he made pirate copies of any program he needed and that he allowed the programs he owned to be copied by others. “I paid for those programs,” he said. “They belong to me.
Theyre my own personal property, and I can do anything I please with them.” When actually this is not true he only leased them from the true owner. You act illegally when you copy programs instead of purchasing them or when you allow the programs in your possession to e copied by others. Unfortunately his felling and attit! ude along with many, many others is “Lets see you enforce that stupid rule, lets just see you do that.” These are just a few of the computer crimes that have happened in the world over the past years. Computer crimes are going to continue to grow, and if something is not done about it hackers will not be able to be stopped. They will become so much more technologically advanced compared to people who are trying to stop them that their threat will be overwhelming.