Computer Crime

by: Manik Saini

Advances in telecommunications and in computer technology have brought us to the
information revolution. The rapid advancement of the telephone, cable,
satellite and computer networks, combined with the help of technological
breakthroughs in computer processing speed, and information storage, has lead us
to the latest revolution, and also the newest style of crime, "computer crime".
The following information will provide you with evidence that without reasonable
doubt, computer crime is on the increase in the following areas: hackers,
hardware theft, software piracy and the information highway. This information
is gathered from expert sources such as researchers, journalists, and others
involved in the field.

Computer crimes are often heard a lot about in the news. When you ask someone
why he/she robbed banks, they world replied, "Because that\'s where the money
is." Today\'s criminals have learned where the money is. Instead of settling
for a few thousand dollars in a bank robbery, those with enough computer
knowledge can walk away from a computer crime with many millions. The National
Computer Crimes Squad estimates that between 85 and 97 percent of computer
crimes are not even detected. Fewer than 10 percent of all computer crimes are
reported this is mainly because organizations fear that their employees, clients,
and stockholders will lose faith in them if they admit that their computers have
been attacked. And few of the crimes that are reported are ever solved.

Hacking was once a term that was used to describe someone with a great deal of
knowledge with computers. Since then the definition has seriously changed. In
every neighborhood there are criminals, so you could say that hackers are the
criminals of the computers around us. There has been a great increase in the
number of computer break-ins since the Internet became popular.

How serious is hacking? In 1989, the Computer Emergency Response Team, a
organization that monitors computer security issues in North America said that
they had 132 cases involving computer break-ins. In 1994 alone they had some
2,341 cases, that\'s almost an 1800% increase in just 5 years. An example is 31
year old computer expert Kevin Mitnick that was arrested by the FBI for stealing
more then $1 million worth in data and about 20,000 credit card numbers through
the Internet. In Vancouver, the RCMP have arrested a teenager with breaking
into a university computer network. There have been many cases of computer
hacking, another one took place here in Toronto, when Adam Shiffman was charged
with nine counts of fraudulent use of computers and eleven counts of mischief to
data, this all carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

We see after reading the above information that hacking has been on the increase.
With hundreds of cases every year dealing with hacking this is surely a problem,
and a problem that is increasing very quickly.

Ten years ago hardware theft was almost impossible, this was because of the size
and weight of the computer components. Also computer components were expensive
so many companies would have security guards to protect them from theft. Today
this is no longer the case, computer hardware theft is on the increase.

Since the invention of the microchip, computers have become much smaller and
easier to steal, and now even with portable and lap top computers that fit in
you briefcase it\'s even easier. While illegal high-tech information hacking
gets all the attention, it\'s the computer hardware theft that has become the
latest in corporate crime. Access to valuable equipment skyrockets and black-
market demand for parts increases. In factories, components are stolen from
assembly lines for underground resale to distributors. In offices, entire
systems are snatched from desktops by individuals seeking to install a home PC.
In 1994, Santa Clara, Calif., recorded 51 burglaries. That number doubled in
just the first six months of 1995. Gunmen robbed workers at Irvine, Calif.,
computer parts company, stealing $12 million worth of computer chips. At a
large advertising agency in London, thieves came in over a weekend and took 96
workstations, leaving the company to recover from an $800,000 loss. A Chicago
manufacturer had computer parts stolen from the back of a delivery van as he was
waiting to enter the loading dock. It took less then two minutes for the doors
to open, but that was enough time for thieves to get away with thousands of
computer components.

Hardware theft has sure become a problem in the last few years, with cases
popping up each day we see that hardware theft is on the increase.

As the network of computers gets bigger so will the number of software thief\'s.