Cybercrime or computer crime is defined as any crime that involves a computer and a network where the computers may or may not have played an instrumental part in the commission of a crime. Netcrime differs in that it refers more precisely to criminal exploitation of the Internet. Such crimes include: hacking, copyright infringement, child pornography and child grooming.
Cybercrime encompasses a broad range of activities. These activities are typically divided into two categories: 1) crimes that target computer networks or devices directly 2)crimes facilitated by computer networks or devices, the primary target of which is independent of the computer network or device. Crimes that target computer networks include computer viruses, denial-of-service attacks and malware.
Computer Viruses – A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and then infect a computer. The term virus and malware are often confused in these instances. A true virus can spread from one computer to another in some form of executable code, when its host is taken to the target computer. Viruses can increase their chances of spreading to other computers by infecting files on a network file system or a file system that is accessed by another computer.
Malware – Malware or malicious code includes computer viruses such as computer worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware and dishonest adware. Computer worms can exploit security vulnerabilities that spread to other computers through networks. Worms and Trojan horses, like viruses, may harm a computer system’s data or performance. Others do nothing to call attention to themselves. Software is considered to be malware based on the perceived intent of the creator rather than any particular features. The prevalence of malware as a vehicle for organized Internet crime, along with the general inability of traditional anti-malware protection platforms (products) to protect against the continuous stream of unique and newly produced malware, has seen the adoption of a new mindset for businesses operating on the Internet: the acknowledgment that some sizable percentage of Internet customers will always be infected for some reason or another, and that they need to continue doing business with infected customers. The result is a greater emphasis on back-office systems designed to spot fraudulent activities associated with advanced malware operating on customers’ computers.
Denial of Service Attacks – These attacks are an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person or people to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently. Perpetrators of DoS attacks typically target sites or services hosted on high-profile web services such as banks, credit card payment gateways, and even root nameservers. The term is generally used with regards to computer networks , but is not limited to this field.
With computer crimes, the computer can be a source of evidence. If the computer was not directly used for criminal purposes, it can be an excellent device for record keeping, particularly given the power to encrypt the data. If this evidence can be obtained and decrypted, it can be of great value to criminal investigators.
Other types of cybercrime range from small crimes such as spam, to larger crimes such as cyberterroism. How are such crimes defined?
Spam – The unsolicited sending of bulk email for commercial purposes, is unlawful to varying degrees . As applied to email, specific anti-spam laws are relatively new, however limits on unsolicited electronic communications have existed in some forms for some time.
Fraud – Computer fraud is any dishonest misrepresentation of fact intended to let another to do or refrain from doing something which causes loss. In this context, the fraud will result in obtaining a benefit by altering computer input, destroying or suppressing output, altering or deleting stored data and altering or misusing existing system tools for fraudulent purposes.
Obscene or offensive content -The content of websites and other electronic communications may be distasteful, obscene or offensive for a variety of reasons. In some instances these communications may be illegal.
Many jurisdictions place limits on certain speech and can ban racist, blasphemous, politically subversive, libelous or slanderous, seditious or or inflammatory material that tends to incite hate crimes.
Harassment – Obscenities and derogatory comments at specific individuals focusing for example on gender, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation.
Crimes are committed each day, with respects to the cyber world. Each crime is defined at different levels, although each is punishable in a court of law.
Steven Medvin is the Executive Director of SMP Advance Funding, LLC, which provides lawsuit funding to individuals who need a lawsuit loan for pending lawsuits. For more information please visit: http://www.smpadvance.com