Digital Computer Crime

In this article, the author tries to describe the importance of the following problem.

Systems and infrastructures are more vulnerable to intrusions. Cybercrime is the fastest growing form of criminal activities surpassing traditional types that include theft, rape, burglary and assault. The biggest challenge posed by a digital crime is anonymity or the ability by hackers to carry out attacks virtually from any place in the world. Cybercrime also includes cyber terrorism, a new form of terrorist activities targeting crucial infrastructure objects. The essay professor paper seeks to explore types of cybercrime and preventive measures, including the ones taken by agencies. Cybercrimes target vulnerable systems and individuals creating the need for improved cyber security measures.

Four Main Categories of Computer Crimes

An internal computer crime refers to an act maliciously infecting computer systems from the inside. For example, an employee may knowingly insert a malware or a virus program inside organization’s computers to protest a decision by the management. Strong firewalls or anti-virus programs protect against internal crimes. However, internal sabotage remains the most challenging digital crime to manage.

Telecommunications crimes involve hacking or gaining unauthorized access to a secured system. Hackers have the advantage of anonymity. The best defense against them includes strong firewalls, encryption, and secure passwords. Examples of telecommunication crimes are the theft of credit card information and specialized attacks targeting financial institutions such as PayPal.

Computer manipulation crimes include criminal activities perpetrated by persons with broad knowledge of system applications and can cover their tracks. Examples include embezzlement, fraud and money laundering. Any manipulation is mainly a white-collar type of crime and can be tough to detect. Anti-manipulation systems such as those that detect illegal transfers and constant auditing are the most reliable tools against computer manipulation crimes.

The theft of computer hardware and software, including data piracy, is also the most common type of digital crime. Criminals break into systems and steal data or intellectual property, which are then sold on underground platforms or even released on the web leading to losses incurred by victims. Information can be photos, credit card data, military secrets, intelligence information or schematics for specialized weaponry. Financial gain or malice drives such criminals.

Common Forms of Digital Crime

The most common form of digital crimes is stalking. In such a case, the victim is subject to illegal online surveillance by the predator. Most stalkers know their victims personally, but cannot approach them.

The use of malicious software is the second most common form of crime, where culprits disrupt systems using a virus or malware to complete the objective. The malicious software aims at causing damages or stealing intellectual data, which are utilized by the attacker for profit. Types of malicious software include malware, adware, Trojan horses, viruses, worms, bugs, and bots.

Sexual exploitation is also on the rise mainly targeting children and young people. Child pornography is no doubt the most notorious form of cybercrime because it targets underage children. In this case, criminals solicit children by using chat rooms to reach kids. Such minors unknowingly take part in the vice. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, pedophiles are on the rise, and parents must be aware of their children’s online activity, including the use of the social media.

The Category of Cyber Crimes that Poses the Greatest Threat

Two main types of computer crimes pose the greatest threat to the public and institutions, namely, cyber terrorism and cyber theft and sabotage. The former is entirely different from the public perception of crime. Terrorists are funded and have resources to recruit the best talents. The Federal Bureau of Investigation notes that cyber terrorists target vulnerable critical infrastructure objects and control systems. They are not motivated by money and solely aim to cause as much infrastructural damage as possible. For example, targeting the electric power grid and creating a fault will cause extensive damage to industries, homes, and businesses. A similar attack on the railway network can cause thousands of deaths by derailing the train. Similarly, a malware program can switch the United States entire camera surveillance system allowing criminals to carry out offenses undetected. Second, crimes targeting individual firms, persons and intellectual property pose a significant threat to victims. Suh organizations as Sony, PayPal, Master Card and Visa are victims of smartly orchestrated crimes. Financial and user information losses have a broad negative impact on the economy. Cybercrimes cost the United States on average $15 million annually, and billions are lost globally.

Roles and Responses to Cybercrime and Cyber Threats

The United States government security divisions, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency (NSA), protect the country against cyber-crimes. They work in cooperation with state and local governments, as well as international security agencies, such as Interpol. Second, the court or judicial system is in place to punish offenders and support government security agencies in prosecuting cyber criminals. Courts fulfill this role by approving arrest and surveillance warrants on persons or groups of interest. They also force such corporations as social media sites to provide agencies with the information required.

Recommendation

To protect citizens from numerous forms of cybercrimes, law enforcement agencies should increase cooperation with local and global partners. The judiciary system must also become more aggressive and ensure cooperation with telecommunication companies and access to the needed information.

Cybercrimes refer to a broad range of criminal activities perpetrated online. Their types include bullying, sexual exploitation, cyber terrorism and fraud. Cybercrimes pose a severe security challenge, since perpetrators are anonymous and fearless. Institutions and individuals must invest in secure systems to prevent access by criminals. Vulnerable systems expose data to those who aim to steal for profit or cause damage. Cyber terrorism is a major threat to the United States, since it is a new phenomenon that has not been fully investigated. However, such an attack can be devastating to citizens and the economy. Law enforcement agencies, individuals, and private institutions must improve cyber defense measures to remain safe.


Mason Dillon

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