Computer Crimes: Laws Must Be Pass To Address The Increase In Computer Crimes


THESIS: Laws must be passed to address the increase in the number and types of
computer crimes.

Over the last twenty years, a technological revolution has occurred as computers
are now an essential element of today\'s society. Large computers are used to
track reservations for the airline industry, process billions of dollars for
banks, manufacture products for industry, and conduct major transactions for
businesses because more and more people now have computers at home and at the
office.

People commit computer crimes because of society\'s declining ethical standards
more than any economic need. According to experts, gender is the only bias. The
profile of today\'s non-professional thieves crosses all races, age groups and
economic strata. Computer criminals tend to be relatively honest and in a
position of trust: few would do anything to harm another human, and most do not
consider their crime to be truly dishonest. Most are males: women have tended to
be accomplices, though of late they are becoming more aggressive. Computer
Criminals tend to usually be "between the ages of 14-30, they are usually bright,
eager, highly motivated, adventuresome, and willing to accept technical
challenges."(Shannon, 16:2)

"It is tempting to liken computer criminals to other criminals, ascribing
characteristics somehow different from

\'normal\' individuals, but that is not the case."(Sharp, 18:3) It is believed
that the computer criminal "often marches to the same drum as the potential
victim but follows and unanticipated path."(Blumenthal, 1:2) There is no actual
profile of a computer criminal because they range from young teens to elders,
from black to white, from short to tall.

Definitions of computer crime has changed over the years as the users and
misusers of computers have expanded into new areas. "When computers were first
introduced into businesses, computer crime was defined simply as a form of
white-collar crime committed inside a computer system."(2600:Summer 92,p.13)

Some new terms have been added to the computer criminal vocabulary. "Trojan
Horse is a hidden code put into a computer program. Logic bombs are implanted so
that the perpetrator doesn\'t have to physically present himself or herself."
(Phrack 12,p.43) Another form of a hidden code is "salamis." It came from the
big salami loaves sold in delis years ago. Often people would take small
portions of bites that were taken out of them and then they were secretly
returned to the shelves in the hopes that no one would notice them
missing.(Phrack 12,p.44)

Congress has been reacting to the outbreak of computer crimes. "The U.S. House
of Judiciary Committee approved a bipartisan computer crime bill that was
expanded to make it a federal crime to hack into credit and other data bases
protected by federal privacy statutes."(Markoff, B 13:1) This bill is generally
creating several categories of federal misdemeanor felonies for unauthorized
access to computers to obtain money, goods or services or classified information.
This also applies to computers used by the federal government or used in
interstate of foreign commerce which would cover any system accessed by
interstate telecommunication systems.

"Computer crime often requires more sophistications than people realize
it."(Sullivan, 40:4) Many U.S. businesses have ended up in bankruptcy court
unaware that they have been victimized by disgruntled employees. American
businesses wishes that the computer security nightmare would vanish like a fairy
tale. Information processing has grown into a gigantic industry. "It accounted
for $33 billion in services in 1983, and in 1988 it was accounted to be $88
billion." (Blumenthal, B 1:2)

All this information is vulnerable to greedy employees, nosy-teenagers and
general carelessness, yet no one knows whether the sea of computer crimes is
"only as big as the Gulf of Mexico or as huge as the North Atlantic."
(Blumenthal,B 1:2) Vulnerability is likely to increase in the future. And by the
turn of the century, "nearly all of the software to run computers will be bought
from vendors rather than developed in houses, standardized software will make
theft easier." (Carley, A 1:1)

A two-year secret service investigation code-named Operation Sun-Devil, targeted
companies all over the United States and led to numerous seizures. Critics of
Operation Sun-Devil claim that the Secret Service and the FBI, which have almost
a similar operation, have conducted unreasonable search and seizures, they
disrupted the lives and livelihoods of many people, and generally conducted
themselves in an unconstitutional manner. "My whole life changed because of that
operation. They charged me and I had to take them to court. I have to thank 2600
and Emmanuel Goldstein for publishing my story. I owe a lot to the fellow
hackers and fellow hackers and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for coming up
with the blunt