The Computer Revolution/Security/Computer Crime

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Computer crime[edit | edit source]

Computer crime generally refers to criminal activity where a computer or network is the tool, target, or place of a crime. These categories are not exclusive and many activities can be characterized as falling in one or more category. Additionally, although the terms computer crime or cybercrime are more properly restricted to describing criminal activity in which the computer or network is a necessary part of the crime, these terms are also sometimes used to include traditional crimes, such as fraud, theft, blackmail, forgery, and embezzlement, in which computers or networks are used to facilitate the illicit activity.

Computer crime can broadly be defined as criminal activity involving the information technology infrastructure, including illegal access (unauthorized access), illegal interception (by technical means of non-public transmissions of computer data to, from or within a computer system), data interference (unauthorized damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration or suppression of computer data), systems interference (interfering with the functioning of a computer system by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data), misuse of devices, forgery (ID theft), and electronic fraud.

  • Hardware

Theft of hardware has increased from warehouses and manufacturing facilities due to the growing demand for high-tech products such as microprocessors, computer memory, microcomputers/PCs, Laptop/notebook, palmtop, hard disk drivers and cellular phone that are valuable, compact and easy to transport. For example, a suitcase of microprocessors is worth more than an equivalent volume of cocaine.

Approximately, 4 percent of the hardware theft accounted for over 60 percent of total company losses. While the average high-tech hardware theft is probably in the low thousands of dollars, it is the high-value thefts that dominate overall company losses. Hardware theft has created different levels of cost. In addition of the direct cost of replacing stolen equipment from manufacturers, there are other indirect costs. (The Economic Costs and Implications of High-Technology Hardware Theft by James N Dertouzos)

Copyright infringement[edit | edit source]

  • Software

Software license and copyright infringement can be defined as the unauthorized use or illegal copying of computer software. This can take many forms such as commercial counterfeiting, deliberate and unauthorized copying by dealers, unlicensed copying and use by "end users" and plagiarism by competitors.

  • Music/Movies

There are four main categories of music/movie copyright infringement and they are, making a copy of live performance (bootlegging), making copies of the product, counterfeiting which is essentially the same but involves duplication of both the music product and of its packaging.

  • plagiarism

Claiming authorship (creation) of another person's creations (normally writing).

  • Art

By posting a work of art to the internet, an artist becomes ultimately vulnerable. The internet is too convenient; any user has complete freedom to publicize content worldwide. This has proven to be something that should be cherished and treated with care, yet feared in anyone’s eyes – let alone the artists. After all, the unfortunate, inevitable truth remains: as long as people are able to add to the internet, someone can find a way to take from the internet.

Online infringement of art copyright (along with selling stolen physical art online, unlicensed replication) has been a topic since perhaps the beginning of the internet. The disastrous examples are nearly endless: Stolen artwork being sold on eBay, printing a downloaded piece and selling it for a profit, other users posting a downloaded image and claiming it as their own (plagiarism); from something as shocking as a Facebook family photo being plagiarized and turned into an advertisement on a billboard…

Although there have been many attempts to counterattack these misfortunes, technology is advancing as we know it. When a cure is discovered, another disease is found, so to speak. For a spell, watermarking became popular and was able to prevent most attacks, but as the media grows ever-strong and graphics manipulation tools become more and more powerful, watermarking is but one lock that can be undone. Turning off the Right Click was another myth that was quickly put to rest by those who were able to get behind the coding of a webpage and retrieve the image from there. Some users believe that by use of Flash or Java applets, one is able to hide their image from even the code-savvy’s eye. However, that is another myth.

Credit fraud[edit | edit source]

The internet allows many different types of invasions into personal information, and use of information with little consequences. Through the internet stolen credit cards are easily utilized without any check into if the user is the true owner of the card. When using credit cards over the internet, some tips to help avoid credit fraud are:

- never respond to emails requesting personal information
- never respond to requests for verification (phishing)
- never provide personal information to an unsecure site

As well, people must beware to ensure that no outside parties are able to obtain the credit card number, to avoid such a situation:

- sign credit cards as soon as you receive them
- shred all applications for credit cards
- only carry cards that you absolutely need
- if you move notify the credit company of the change of address
- shred anything with a written credit card number
- Immediately cancel any stolen or lost cards

With these precautionary measure the improper use of your credit card should hopefully be avoided. If for some reason fraudulent charges still occur report them immediately to the credit company as to avoid any future fraud.

Identity Theft[edit | edit source]

In conjunction with credit fraud, identity theft could be enhanced by the amount of information an individual lends to the internet. With many different forums for individuals to post opinions and information of themselves that they think will only be of interest to friends and family could potentially become information that another stranger could use to steal your identity. It is important to put only information that anyone and everyone is allowed to see because on the internet everyone is potentially able to see it. Private information should only be offered on secure and trustworthy sites and different passwords should be used respectively.

Software Piracy[edit | edit source]

Software piracy is the illegal copying, distribution and use of software. When a commercial software package is purchased, an end user license agreement (EULA) is included to protect that software program from copyright infringement. Typically, the license states that you can install the original copy of the software you bought on one computer and that you can make a backup copy in case the original is lost or damaged. You agree to the licensing terms and conditions when you open the software package, when you open the envelope that contains the software disks or when you install the software. Types of software piracy include: • Softlifting: Borrowing and installing a copy of a software application from a colleague. • Client-Server Overuse: Installing more copies of the software than you have licenses for. • Hard Disk Loading: Installing and selling unauthorized copies of software on refurbished or new computers. • Counterfeiting: Duplicating and selling copyrighted programs. • Online piracy: Typically involves downloading illegal software from peer-to-peer network, Internet auction or blog. Software piracy applies mainly to full-function commercial software. The time-limited or functions restricted versions of commercial software called shareware are less likely to be pirated since they are freely available. Similarly, freeware (a type of software that is copyrighted but freely distributed at no charge) also offers little incentive for piracy.

Digital Counterfeiting[edit | edit source]

This image may need to be re-sized per the Counterfeit Detection Act of 1992

The availability of high quality, full-color imaging products such as scanners, color printers, and color copiers has made digital counterfeiting creating counterfeit copies of items such as currency and Social Security cards, driver licenses, passports, visas, using computers and other types of digital equipment easier and less costly than in the recent past. With digital counterfeiting, the bill is either color copied or it is scanned into a computer and then printed. Counterfeiting is illegal in the United States. Counterfeiting of U.S. currency and other documents is a growing problem in United States and in other countries. The Secret Service has seen an increase in counterfeiting among high school and college students for using exam papers before the final test. To prevent the counterfeiting of U.S. currency, the Treasury Department releases new currency designs every 7 to 10 years. These new designs such as for example, new $5 bill released in 2008 contain features such as micro printing, watermarks and a security thread that make the new currency much more difficult to duplicate than older currency. Due to the watermarks and security thread are embedded in the paper, counterfeiters are unable to duplicate those features when creating counterfeit bills either from scratch or by bleaching the ink out of existing lower-denomination bills and reprinting them with high denominations. Counterfeit copies of bills using the new designs are easy to detect just by holding them up to the light and looking for the proper watermark or security thread. This is attributed primarily to the ease of creating counterfeit bills- although not necessarily high quality counterfeit bills using digital technology. The paper used with real U.S. bills is very expensive and cannot legally be made by paper mills for any other purpose and because U.S. bills contain a number of other characteristics that are difficult to reproduce accurately. The majority of counterfeit money made by amateurs is easily detectable. Prevention measures for the counterfeiting of other types of documents such as checks, identification cards including RFID tags, digital watermarks, and other difficult to reproduce content. Educating consumers about fake products differs from the authentic products is a vital sign in the ongoing battle against counterfeiting.