The Effects Of Cyber Crime Information Technology Essay

Perhaps the most prominent form of cyber crime is identity theft, in which criminals use the Internet to steal personal information from other users. Two of the most common ways this is done is through phishing and pharming. Both of these methods lure users to fake websites (that appear to be legitimate), where they are asked to enter personal information. This includes login information, such as usernames and passwords, phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other information criminals can use to “steal” another person’s identity. For this reason, it is smart to always check the URL or Web address of a site to make sure it is legitimate before entering your personal information.

The first recorded cyber crime took place in the year 1820! That is not surprising considering the fact that the abacus, which is thought to be the earliest form of a computer, has been around since 3500 B.C. in India, Japan and China. The era of modern computers, however, began with the analytical engine of Charles Babbage.

In 1820, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, a textile manufacturer in France, produced the loom. This device allowed the repetition of a series of steps in the weaving of special fabrics. This resulted in a fear amongst Jacquard’s employees that their traditional employment and livelihood were being threatened. They committed acts of sabotage to discourage Jacquard from further use of the new technology. This is the first recorded cyber crime!

We are currently living in Cyber age, where Internet and computers have major impacts on our way of living, social life and the way we conduct businesses.

The usage of information technology has posed great security challenges and ethical questions in front of us. Just as every thing has positives and negatives, usage of information technology is beneficial as well as insecure.

With the growth of the internet, network security has become a major concern. Cyber crimes have emerged rapidly in the last few years and have major consequences. Cyber criminals are doing every thing from stealing money, hacking into others computer, stealing intellectual property, spreading viruses and worms to damage computers connected on the internet and committing frauds.

Stoppage of cyber crimes is a major concern today.

Cyber criminal make use of the vulnerabilities in computer soft wares and networks to their advantage.


Hacking or Cracking is a major cyber crime committed today. Hacker makes use of the weaknesses and loop holes in operating systems to destroy data and steal important information from victim’s computer. Cracking is normally done through the use of a backdoor program installed on your machine. A lot of crackers also try to gain access to resources through the use of password cracking soft wares. Hackers can also monitor what u do on your computer and can also import files on your computer. A hacker could install several programs on to your system without your knowledge. Such programs could also be used to steal personal information such as passwords and credit card information. Important data of a company can also be hacked to get the secret information of the future plans of the company.


Cyber-Theft is the use of computers and communication systems to steal information in electronic format. Hackers crack into the systems of banks and transfer money into their own bank accounts. This is a major concern, as larger amounts of money can be stolen and illegally transferred.

Many newsletters on the internet provide the investors with free advice recommending stocks where they should invest. Sometimes these recommendations are totally bogus and cause loss to the investors. Credit card fraud is also very common.

Most of the companies and banks don’t reveal that they have been the victims of cyber -theft because of the fear of loosing customers and share holders. Cyber-theft is the most common and the most reported of all cyber-crimes. Cyber-theft is a popular cyber-crime because it can quickly bring experienced cyber-criminal large cash resulting from very little effort. Furthermore, there is little chance a professional cyber-criminal will be apprehended by law enforcement.

Viruses and worms:

Viruses and worms is a very major threat to normal users and companies. Viruses are computer programs that are designed to damage computers. It is named virus because it spreads from one computer to another like a biological virus. A virus must be attached to some other program or documents through which it enters the computer. A worm usually exploits loop holes in soft wares or the operating system. Trojan horse is dicey. It appears to do one thing but does something else. The system may accept it as one thing. Upon execution, it may release a virus, worm or logic bomb. A logic bomb is an attack triggered by an event, like computer clock reaching a certain date. Chernobyl and Melissa viruses are the recent examples.

Experts estimate that the My doom worm infected approximately a quarter-million computers in a single day in January 2004. Back in March 1999, the Melissa virus was so powerful that it forced Microsoft and a number of other very large companies to completely turn off their e-mail systems until the virus could be contained.


An important question arises that how can these crimes be prevented. A number of techniques and solutions have been presented but the problems still exists and are increasing day by day.

Antivirus And Anti spy ware Software:

Antivirus software consists of computer programs that attempt to identify, thwart and eliminate computer viruses and other malicious software. Anti spy wares are used to restrict backdoor program, Trojans and other spy wares to be installed on the computer.

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A firewall protects a computer network from unauthorized access. Network firewalls may be hardware devices, software programs, or a combination of the two. A network firewall typically guards an internal computer network against malicious access from outside the network.


Cryptography is the science of encrypting and decrypting information. Encryption is like sending a postal mail to another party with a lock code on the envelope which is known only to the sender and the recipient. A number of cryptographic methods have been developed and some of them are still not cracked.

Cyber Ethics and Laws:

Cyber ethics and cyber laws are also being formulated to stop cyber crimes. It is a responsibility of every individual to follow cyber ethics and cyber laws so that the increasing cyber crimes shall reduce. Security soft wares like anti viruses and anti spy wares should be installed on all computers, in order to remain secure from cyber crimes. Internet Service Providers should also provide high level of security at their servers in order to keep their clients secure from all types of viruses and malicious programs.

The Effects of Cyber crime

When you purchase a home it comes with a door and a lock. You always will make sure that the door/lock exist and that the lock is working properly. If you want you can aim to further secure your home against any threats. You may purchase a new security system, an additional lock or maybe even a pet dog for added safety. Why would you not secure your investment? Would you invite criminals to use your home to commit additional crimes wherever he/she pleases?

In the same fashion, computer viruses that can generate havoc on your PC system are just as criminal. Viruses can cost companies millions and dollars in time to repair an infected system. Recently, Microsoft went as far as to post a $250,000 bounty for the writers of the MSBlast worm and the SoBig.F virus. Organizations such as Interpol now have sections of their website devoted to cyber-crime, with other websites such as the IFCC “Internet Fraud Complaint Center” specializing in Internet Crime.

In General, computer viruses can be transferred to an unsuspecting PC through a variety of formats. Viruses can appear through e-mail, infected software, diskettes, infected CD/DVD discs or computer documents. Furthermore, if you do not run regular Microsoft Windows updates (, even regular Internet web browsing can cause major problems, through known security exploits in your Operating System. An unsuspecting user can open what they think is a legitimate webpage, however then end up downloading a virus or allowing access to their PC by a hacker. Viruses are showing up on a weekly basis. Your Anti-virus software, security applications or Windows Operating System is only as good as its last update. To get complete protection, you must regularly update with the latest virus definition files, scanning engines, patches and fixes.

Prevention is always better then hours of frustration and lost data. Some of the main ways to ensure your PC is protected from malicious computer viruses are as follows.

Computer-based crime

Computers facilitate the theft of money and property and the destruction of data when there are inadequate controls against their misuse. Crimes perpetrated by unauthorized access to keyboards, terminals and communications devices generally can be described as thefts, misapplications of assets, or destruction of information. These terms may apply to the misappropriation of money and real property, or of proprietary information and intangible assets. The misuse of the computer may involve the forgery of computer signatures such as authorizing codes; the creation of false accounts payable to disburse cheques; improper use of personal information; the creation of “virus” or “rogue” programmes which interfere in software operations and destroy data. All of these crimes include programming the erasure of any evidence of the computer crime perpetrated. Probably the fastest growing category of computer related crime is that involving electronic fund transfer systems. The most significant types of computer crime were: arson, sabotage and malicious damage of computer installations; system penetration, or “hacking”; unauthorized use of computer time; thefts of assets, including software; embezzlement of funds; defrauding of consumers and investors; and destruction or alteration of data (including college transcripts and diplomas) and software. The motive is usually personal financial gain, anger or revenge but another significant impetus is ‘the intellectual challenge’ associated with computer crime

The absence of, or inadequate provision for, documentation and access controls for computer installations, facilitates computer crime. Unauthorized access to software and hardware is almost exclusively the means of crime perpetration. With authorized access, but with criminal collusion, two or more persons may commit crimes unnoticed, until financial audits, inventories, and computer operation system checks uncover the fraud or misuse. In the case of theft of intangible properties such as computer-stored patents of engineering, chemical or other designs, processes, or marketing and strategic data, the crime is exposed, if at all, by inferences drawn from the activities, products or knowledge shown by competitors

Studies in the USA indicate that about one-third of such crimes were committed by staff or consultant data-processing personnel, almost exclusively below management level; but the bulk were committed by non-data-processing personnel with normal, job-related access to computers. A recent USA study has concluded that computer-related crime now rivals white collar crime in cost and seriousness. The report was based on a survey of 283 corporations and government agencies and among the conclusions were the following: about 48% of those surveyed reported some form of computer crime during 1983 with total annual losses estimated to be $145 million to $730 million. More recent estimates based on actual reported crime place losses in the USA at $3 billion per annum. An Australian computer expert has estimated that there were about 4000 computer-related frauds over the period 1975-1983. Pranksters in Canada in the past have re-routed the entire delivery system for Pepsi-cola; in 1971 the New York-Penn Central Railroad Company discovered 200 of its box-cars had been re-routed and ended up near Chicago and another 200 cars were found to be missing. In New Jersey seven young people, all under 18 years, were charge with conspiring to use their home computers for exchanging stolen credit card numbers, information on how to make free phone calls, and to call coded phone numbers in the Pentagon. They were found with codes capable of changing the position of communication satellites. One youngster had run up a large phone bill at home and when berated by his parents, he proceeded to break into the phone billing system and cancelled the charge

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Few computer crimes are actually reported. In the US is required by law to report computer crimes; many commentators agree that only about 15% of computer-related crimes are actually reported. The Australian Computer Abuse Research Bureau argues that only one in 20 cases of the $2 million or so worth of computer-related offences in Australia during 1980 was in fact reported. The reasons given are that there is not much faith in the legal system and its ability to prosecute a case of computer crime successfully; that companies fear that to declare publicly that their system has been breached and that their assets are not as secure as once thought will cause a flight of capital in shareholder’s funds and deposits; and that there is a reluctance to expose the company’s records and systems to public scrutiny and competitors

In the UK in 1989, it was estimated that the cost to industry of computer-based crime was over ¿½400 million per year. The average annual incidence was9 incidents per 100 companies (rising in some cases to 1 in 2), costing on average ¿½46,000 per incident. Other estimates put the cost of computer crime as high as ¿½2 billion per year. The most vulnerable sector is the communications industry in which there were 192 incidents per 100 companies. Fraudulent input of information, notably on payroll systems, accounted for 4.1 million pounds of losses

A person stealing trade secrets no longer has to physically copy documents because much scientific and technical information is now stored on computers. Instead of copying hundreds of pages of information on a duplicating machine, a person can download that material onto a single computer disk which can be easily concealed in a pocket. The information on the disk can then be sent or transmitted anywhere in the world without ever engendering the employer’s suspicions. Additionally, if a thief is able to illegally penetrate a company’s computer system, he or she can download that company’s trade secrets and transmit them on international computer networks without removing the originals from the victim company

1. While the Internet provides dramatic and exciting benefits to enhance our lives, it also allows those who want to violate or evade the law an opportunity to reach exponentially greater numbers of people

Common Types of Computer Related Crime

There are a number of common attacks and methods of committing a computer related crime. Some of these are less sophisticated than others, and can be committed by someone with limited knowledge of computers. Others require programming skills and/or an advanced knowledge of how computers and various software can work together to commit a crime.


Computer viruses are programs that can attach themselves to other programs or files. The virus infected files can then become carriers of the virus, or become damaged in some way. The virus may effect computer services, displaying messages or playing sounds, or may crash the operating system so that the computer won’t run as expected (if at all).

You can prevent computer viruses by installing an anti-virus program on your computer, which scans files for known viruses. There are a number of these programs on the market, and they can be purchased from software stores or acquired on the Internet. Once installed, you will need to regularly update anti-virus files, which are used to detect and remove viruses from your system.


Data diddling involves changing data prior or during input into a computer. In other words, information is changed from the way it should be entered by a person typing in the data, a virus that changes data, the programmer of the database or application, or anyone else involved in the process of having information stored in a computer file. The culprit can be anyone involved in the process of creating, recording, encoding, examining, checking, converting, or transmitting data.

This is one of the simplest methods of committing a computer-related crime, because it requires almost no computer skills whatsoever. Despite the ease of committing the crime, the cost can be considerable. For example, a person entering accounting may change data to show their account, or that or a friend or family member, is paid in full. By changing or failing to enter the information, they are able to steal from the company.

To deal with this type of crime, a company must implement policies and internal controls. This may include performing regular audits, using software with built-in features to combat such problems, and supervising employees.


In computer jargon, “hacker” has a variety of meanings, including being synonymous with programmers and advanced computer users. In these cases, it refers to someone who hacks away at a keyboard for long periods of time, performing any number of computer-related tasks. In recent years, hacking has come to mean the same as another term “cracker,” which is a person who cracks the security of a system or computer application. Hacking (and cracking) now refers to the act of gaining unauthorized access to a computer, network, Web site, or areas of a system.

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A person may hack their way into a system for a variety of reasons; curiosity, the challenge of breaking through security measures, or to perform malicious actions and destroy or steal data. All to often, it involves performing mischief and damaging a Web site or corporate network in some manner.

Commonly, hackers will impersonate a valid user to gain access to a system. If the system requires a username and password before allowing entry, a hacker may take an authentic user’s identity. On a network or an office with Internet access, a hacker can impersonate someone else by simply sitting at the unattended workstation of another user who hasn’t logged off. It also commonly occurs when someone has an easy to guess username and password, or allows this information to be known by others.

Another common method hackers use to gain access is to guess or crack a username and password that’s used to access a computer, network, or Internet account. To prevent being hacked in this manner, you should use passwords that are difficult to guess. You should also make your passwords a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters (e.g. !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, *).  You should change your password at regular intervals, and set a minimal length to passwords (such as being a minimum of six or eight characters).


A logic bomb is a program that runs at a specific date and/or time to cause unwanted and/or unauthorized functions. It can effect software or data, and can cause serious damage to a system. Generally, it will enter a system as hidden content, or may be installed on the system by someone within a company. For example, a disgruntled employee may write a program designed to crash the system one month after he plans to quit the company. When this date and time arrives, the program then executes. In other words, the bomb goes off.

Often, logic bombs aren’t detected until after they execute … when the damage is done. However, by installing anti-virus software, firewalls, and other security software, you can block hidden content, and stop the bomb before it becomes a problem. Anti-virus software can detect known logic bombs, trojan horses, and viruses. Firewalls allow you to set policies on your system that will strip hidden content out of messages, removed file attachments, and so forth.


Trojan horses get their name from the story of the attack on Troy. In the story, the army couldn’t get past the gates of Troy to attack. A covert attack was needed, so soldiers hid inside of a giant wooden horse, which was offered as a gift to the citizens of Troy. Once inside the gates of the city, the Trojan Horse opened and the attack began.

In computer terms, Trojan Horses live up to the name derived from the Greek story. Covert instructions are hidden inside of a program. These instructions are embedded in software or email, and may provide any number of undesired or unauthorized functions. Once opened, they may modify or damage data, or send information over the Internet (which can then be used by a hacker for future attacks).

By dealing hidden content in messages or software, you can avoid problems with Trojan Horses. Using anti-virus software, firewalls, and other security software, your system can check for Trojan Horses and prevent them from attacking.

Computer Crime Prevention

Computer crime is becoming ever prevalent in our society. More and more, companies and individuals rely on the services and resources provided through networks and computers. Companies may be dependent on the data to conduct business, while individuals may store information that is important to their personal or work-related activities. Due to this, it becomes vital that steps are taken to protect computer systems and the data that’s stored on them.

It is important to remember that no system can ever be completely secure. The only network, Web site, or computer system that’s 100% secure is one that can’t be accessed by anyone or anything, which makes it completely unusable. Natural disasters, malicious, users who make mistakes, or motivated criminals can compromise security and/or cause damage. The goal for securing your system should be to balance security with accessibility.

Community Crime Prevention

Everyone’s Doing It: Planning a Successful Community Crime Prevention Project

Are you tired of walking by playgrounds that are filled with trash and broken equipment? You know kids won’t play there because it’s such a mess. Make a difference by cleaning up that playground as a community crime prevention project.

Keeping Insider Information Inside

Protect confidential information against insider leaks, and corporate espionage.

Take Crime Prevention to Work

Local law enforcement agencies will experience greater cooperation and success with crime prevention programs if they include local businesses and corporate offices. Presentations at local businesses are designed to provide basic information and tips on crime prevention.

Safer Seniors

An increasing population of senior citizens, including those in assisted-living communities, has made police officers aware of the challenges of reaching this group with safety information. Strong support from the police chief and elected officials helps ensure that time, staff, and resources are dedicated to aiding seniors.

Also see Neighborhood Watch and School Safety

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