Computer Crime and My Personal Experience
I decided to research the subject of Computer Crime on the internet because I, like many consumers, pay bills, shop and perform other types of personal and business transactions on the internet. Two years ago, my credit card information was stolen after paying a cell phone bill on the internet. Therefore, the question of whether or not computer crime can be stopped is one that I continuously have concern about and ponder over.
First, let me define computer crime: “Computer crime, or cybercrime, is any crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target” (Wikipedia). If I were asked two years ago whether or not I thought computer crime could be stopped, I would answer the question reflecting my negative experience and that answer would have been no.
However, I believe it depends upon the type of cybercrime. For example, if someone uses a computer to illegally obtain financial information, sell drugs, bullying or solicit sex, locating and stopping those individuals would be a matter of tracking the CPU’s unique identification numbers and the location of the unit and either blocking or deleting the website. Depending upon the severity of the computer crime, the perpetrator could be arrested and convicted.
Today, there are various types of security software available for websites that detect suspicious activities and helps to filter spam. However, if the crime has to do with hacking, whether it is because the hacker’s intent is to test his/her hacking skills, hacking to make a statement, or to destroy a particular website, this type of cybercrime is proving to be more challenging to prevent. Hackers are usually highly skilled technicians.
Also, every time advanced malware becomes available, it is a matter of time before hackers discover ways to breach the encryption and hack websites. “Most companies encounter multiple cyber attacks every day, many unknown to the public and many unknown to the companies themselves” (Walters, Riley).
Cyber Attacks on U. S. Companies in 2014
In 2014, a disturbing amount of major corporations experienced website hacking resulting in hackers gaining access to consumer’s personal information. Until today, recovering and implementing security measures to prevent security breaches has proven to challenging.
Just to provide an idea of how serious and prevalent the crime of hacking is, here is a list of corporations that were hacked in 2014: Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, Yahoo Mail, Aaron Brothers, AT&T, and eBay. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “The spate of recent data breaches at big-name companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, and Target raises questions about the effectiveness of the private sector’s information security.” FBI Director James Comey stated, “There are two kinds of big companies in the United States.
There are those who’ve been hacked… and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked” (FBI). It is the later part of Mr. Comey’s statement where he says, “those who don’t know.” I find that disconcerting. What else is waiting in the shadows of unknown? Could it be an attack on the entire Human Resource Administration’s database or the system that disburses social security benefits? What would happen of cybercrime became the new secret war weapon for some countries in an attempt to destroy the economy of others. Today, these are all great possibilities. Should we cease ecommerce activities on the internet?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the internet has become the way that people communicate, learn, shop, enjoy entertainment and share information. The convenience outweighs all of the issues surrounding computer crimes.
Another type of cybercrime is bullying. This has been shown to be common among young people under 18 years of age. It usually occurs on social media where people post private information, stalk, or consistently banter negatively about other people in such a way as to cause embarrassment, devastation, fear and in some cases harm.
It isn’t possible to always identify the stalker because many times the information is posted anonymously and it is distributed quickly. Removing the information has proven to be challenging. Websites that are frequently used for cyber bullying include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other websites that promote socializing as its main focus. The fact that bullying is perpetrated through technology does not negate the terrible impact it has on the victims. It is believed that “Kids who are cyber bullied are more likely to: Use Alcohol and drugs, skip school, experience in-person bullying, be unwilling to attend school, receive poor grades, have lower self-esteem, and have more health problems,” according to research conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics (Department of Health).
United States Convictions of Computer Crimes
The Department of Justice’s website contains a 2015 press release of arrest and convictions resulting from cybercrimes. Some of the convictions include: “CMU Student Pleads Guilty to Designing Malware, Selling it on Hacker Forum; Operator of Music Piracy Websites Pleads Guilty to Criminal Copyright Infringement; Former State Department Employee Indicted in Computer Hacking and Cyberstalking; New York Man Admits Sending Spam, Nine People Charged in Largest Known Computer Hacking And Securities Fraud Scam; and, Estonian National Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Charges Arising From Cyber Fraud Scheme That Infected Millions Of Computers Worldwide” (FBI).
The foregoing list represents a fraction of cybercrimes that are listed on the website. Crime enforcement agencies in many states throughout the United States have their own stories of arrest and convictions regarding cybercrime.
The internet is worldwide free reign that is not controlled by any government. The intent of the internet is to allow a source of freedom and the sharing of information without government regulations.
However, because of the growing usages of the internet in providing consumer goods and services, governments around the world will have to collaborate on finding an end to cybercrime.
One government cannot impinge laws on the internet that could overlap into the governance of another. Therefore, governments must find a way to come together, and if there are differences they must put them aside, in order to address and prevent cybercrime.
Computer crime. n.d. 6 October 2015.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. 10 October 2014. Print. 3 October 2015.
Riley, Walter. “Cyber Attacks on U. S. Companies in 2014.” Issue Brief 27 October 2014. Print. 3 October 2015.
Stopbullying.gov. n.d. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Print. 6 October 2015.