Computer crime is one of the newest types of crimes that have resulted from the technological advancement. The anonymity introduced by computer technology has encouraged the individuals, who would not be tempted to commit crimes otherwise, to do that through the internet. Computer crimes represent activities that involve the usage of information technologies in order to gain an illegitimate access to the computer systems with an intention of deleting, damaging or altering the data. Computer crimes also encompass activities, such as misuse of devices, electronic frauds, system interference, as well as data and identity theft. They also involve manipulation of personal information containing critical data. There are many different categories of the computer crimes, among them are hacking, phishing, computer viruses and cyber stalking.
Hacking is breaking into the computer system in order to gain an illegitimate access to the data and information stored in this computer. This usually involves actions that overcome the security parameters installed in the computer system; thus, allowing unlawful access to the information and data stored in this particular computer system. Hacking can occur when there is an illegal disclosure of the organization’s passwords, which provides easy access to information and data to unauthorized people. Another form of hacking usually involves hacking the IP address. This enables the hacker to conduct a transaction over the internet using the fake identity. Therefore, the hacker remains unidentified, while executing illegal activities. Citigroup, which is a giant financial institution with a large amount of cash flows on a daily basis, was hacked in 2011. The bank’s website was hacked by the hackers, who were based in Eastern Europe. They broke in by impersonating as the legitimate credit card holders on the Citibank’s website. In the end, they managed to get access to the massive storage of the customers’ personal financial data.
Phishing is an act of endeavoring in order to obtain confidential information, such as passwords, usernames and credit card details. This is usually done through disguising as being trustworthy customers. Phishing is usually executed through luring the users to send their personal information through the emails of the fake websites. Criminals normally target popular websites that make the user feel safe to share their personal information. In the United States of America companies, such as eBay, PayPal, J.P Morgan Chase and Bank of America have been frequently targeted by phishers. The hackers have in some instances managed to crack the massive stores of the customers’ personal financial data by impersonating as the legitimate credit card holders of the above mentioned banks.
This refers to the use technological advancement in the internet in order to torment and distress other people. This usually includes transmission of threats, false accusations and destruction of equipment and data that fall under the categories of cyber stalking activities. Users are usually targeted through the use of online forums and chartrooms. For instance, Facebook and Google+ user had been victims of cyber stalking. These websites have been used in order to gather confidential information. Consequently, user receives obscene emails, mentally and psychologically abusive messages and phone calls from social network users, such as Facebook members.
Computer viruses are software and programs that reproduce themselves automatically; hence, harming the computer network and system without user’s prior knowledge. Viruses are usually spread to other computers through network file systems or through devices, such as CDs and USB drives. Computer viruses develop mischievous codes that corrupt computer files and stored information. They are also used to crash computer systems and networks; thus, destroying large amount of critical information and data. For instance, The Heartland payment system was infested with viruses in 2008. The hacker plotted to steal credit cards and debit numbers of customers by secretly infesting the computer network of the company with spyware. The masterminds managed to steal more than 100 million individual customers’ card numbers.
Computer hacking is a crime that poses more challenges, since it pave way to other types of computer crimes. Computer hacking is a serious issue in the real world and it brings the significant consequences to the companies, nations and consumers. A recent study by RSA indicates that there was an apparent growth in computer hacking (Bauchner, 2010). According to the RSA, there was a 7 per cent increase in the amount of phishing attacks worldwide between the month of July and August of 2010. The United State currently is the leading country that has suffered the most attacks in regard to the online computer hacking with approximately 35 per cent. The United State was also the country that was found to host most of the attacks, with approximately 60 per cent of the phishing attacks being started from the United State of America.
The US government needs to adopt the modern cyber security strategies. These strategies need to aim at protecting communication and information technologies throughout the US. It also needs to re-design specific strategies that do not only focus on addressing the attack, but also on the offences committed using computers. Strengthening the autonomy of the judicial and the law enforcement agencies will also be crucial in combatting computer hacking crimes. In addition, the government needs to establish specific legislation that promotes the work of the law enforcement agency and judicial system in handling computer crime mastermind. Furthermore, the US government needs to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement agencies with the judicial system in order to ensure that all the culprits of the computer crimes are charged in courts. This will enhance efficiency in the war against computer crimes.