Categories of Computer Crimes
CIS 170 – Information Technology in Criminal Justice
Dr. Nicole L. Gray
Marilyn T. Hawkins
October 16, 2012
Computer Crimes are criminal activities, which involve the use of information technology to gain an illegal or an unsanctioned access to a computer system with volition of damaging, deleting or alter computer data. Computer crimes also include the activities such as electronic frauds, misuse of devices, identity theft and data as well as system intrusion. Computer crimes may not necessarily encompass damage to physical property. They rather encompass the control of confidential data and critical information. Computer crimes involve activities ...view middle of the document...
Criminals often use websites that have a look and feel of some popular website, which makes the users feel safe to enter their details there.
Computer As the Target
Crimes in which the computer is the target include such assaults as theft of intellectual property, theft of marketing information (e.g., customer lists, pricing data, or marketing plans), or blackmail based on information gained from computerized files (e.g., medical information, personal history, or sexual preference). Those crimes also could cause undermining of intellectual property, marketing, pricing, or personnel data or undermining of operating systems and programs with the purpose to hinder a business or create chaos in a business’ operations. The unlawful access to criminal justice and other government records is another crime that targets the computer directly. This crime covers changing a criminal history; altering want and warrant information; creating a driver’s license, passport, or another document for identification purposes; changing tax records; or retrieving access to intelligence files.
Techno-vandalism occurs when unsanctioned access to a computer results in damage to files or programs, not so much for profit but for the demand. In such cases, the damage or loss may be on purpose or accidental.
Another crime in this category is techno-trespass that is, “walking” through a computer just to analyze. In such cases, the trespasser only looks at a file but even this violates the owner’s privacy. This would be the technological same as trespass.
In all of these crimes the criminal employs the computer to retrieve information or to damage operating programs. The criminal commits the crime either by “super zapping” or by becoming a “super user.” These labels mean that the criminal accesses the operating program by camouflaging as the system’s manager, therefore giving the criminal access to literally every file in the system.
Becoming a super user is to some extent easy for individuals with experience in computer operations, because nearly every operating system as a trap door that allows individuals to enter a system and show themselves the system’s manager. Trap doors allow access to systems should a problem, either a human or technological one comes into play. Unfortunately, this device also poses a threat to the system’s soundness.
Computer As the Instrumentality of the Crime
In common law, instrumentality refers to the diversion of a lawfully possessed item, that is, an instrument, to expedite committing a crime. In this category, the processes of the computer, not the contents of computer files, expedite the crime.
The criminal introduces a new code (programming instructions) to maneuver the computer’s analytical processes, therefore expediting the crime. Another method envelops changing legitimate computer processes for illegitimate purposes. Crimes in this category include fraudulent employment of automated teller machine (ATM) cards and...