Cybercrime What's in a Name  Term Paper

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In this scenario, "if a bad guy wants to take over an account, he'll have someone else speak in a different language in a different location, and that's all they do. Their expertise is calling financial institutions for social engineering" (Piazza 2006). According to Piazza (2006), cybercrime consists of any crime a person commits by using a computer or computer technology. He classifies various types of cybercrime into four primary categories, which include:

unauthorized access to computer programs and files, unauthorized disruption, theft of identity, and carrying out of traditional offenses, such as distribution of child pornography, using a computer (Piazza 2006).

Ditzion, Geddes and Rhodes (2003) contend that due to the myriad of diverse computer related offenses, nothing less than the definition by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) would suffice. The DOJ generally defines computer crime as "any violations of criminal law that involve a knowledge of computer technology for their perpetration, investigation, or prosecution." (Ditzion, Geddes & Rhodes, 2003)

The term "computer crime" not only includes traditional crimes committed using a computer, but also numerous technology-specific criminal behaviors technologies and the exponential expansion of the Internet have spawned. The Internet has also spawned numerous "cyberthreats," which can basically be defined as "using computer technology to engage in activity that undermines a society's ability to maintain internal or external order" (Brenner, 2007). As cyberspace spawns opportunities for individuals and groups to remotely commission attacks, they usually maintain their anonymity. More often than not, cybercriminals are not apprehended and remain unidentified (Brenner 2007)

No International Borders

Kumar (2002) notes cybercrime has spawned deep roots into cyberspace and that sophisticated cybercriminals and terrorists associated with drug trafficking, terrorist outfits regularly employ the Internet for anti-social, anti-national and criminal activities. He warns that "The criminals can move on a highway at the speed of light on which there are no traffic signals, no constables, without international border with no custom or immigration authorities to call the criminal to halt. Terrorist groups deftly utilize the Internet to pass on information to execute various terrorist acts, which, because they utilize computers, present serious negative impact on human life. "The cyber-terrorists have even acquired the capability to penetrate computer systems using 'logic bombs' (coded devices that can be remotely detonated), electro magnetic pulses and high-emission radio frequency guns, which blow a devastating electronic wind through a computer system. The hackers have gone to the extent of distributing free hacking software -- Rootkit, for instance -- to enable an intruder to get root access to a network and then control as though they were the system's administrators (Kumar 2002)."

The Cybercrime Scope Depending on the scope of the crime, Internet-related crimes, no matter what the name, like crimes committed offline, should be reported to appropriate law enforcement investigative authorities at the local, state, federal, or international levels. Primary federal law enforcement agencies that investigate domestic Internet crimes include: the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Secret Service, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). The following Table (1) identifies a number of cybercrimes and the appropriate law enforcement agency for reporting the crime.

Table 1: Cybercrimes and Law Enforcement Agencies (Computer Crimes 2008)

Type of Crime

Appropriate Federal Investigative

Law Enforcement Agencies

Computer intrusion (i.e. hacking)

FBI local office

U.S. Secret Service

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Password trafficking

FBI local office

U.S. Secret Service

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Counterfeiting of currency

U.S. Secret Service

Child Pornography or Exploitation

FBI local office if imported,

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Child Exploitation and Internet Fraud matters that have a mail nexus

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Internet fraud and SPAM

FBI local office

U.S. Secret Service (Financial Crimes Division)

Federal Trade Commission online complaint) if securities fraud or investment-related SPAM e-mails,

Securities and Exchange Commission online complaint)

The Internet Crime Complaint Center

Internet harassment

FBI local office

Internet bomb threats

FBI local office

ATF local office

Trafficking in explosive or incendiary devices or firearms over the Internet

FBI local office

ATF local office

Kumar (2002) states computer-related crimes may be divided into two major categories:

The computer is the target of a crime:

a. Sabotage of computer systems or computer networks;

b. Sabotage of operating systems and programmes;

c. Theft of data/information (this is the fastest growing computer-related crime);

d. Theft of intellectual property, such as computer software;

e. Theft of marketing information; and f. Blackmail based on information gained from computerized files, such as medical information, personal history, sexual preferences, financial data, etc. (Kumar 2002).

The computer serves as the instrument of a crime.

a. Fraudulent use of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards and accounts;

b. Credit card frauds;

c. Frauds involving electronic funds transfers;

d. Telecommunication Frauds; and e. Frauds relating to Electronic Commerce and Electronic Data Interchange.

Theft of Intellectual Property Rights is also part of cyber space burglars. In USA alone, the Fortune 1000 companies suffer a loss of about 300 billion dollars annually on this account (Kumar 2002).

Even though an increased awareness exists regarding the significance of international cybersecurity, along with measures taken to improve capabilities, cyber risks continue to underlie national and global information networks, as well as critical systems they manage. To decrease risks requires unprecedented, active partnership among diverse components various countries around the globe (Computer Crimes 2008) - no matter what the name of the crime.


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