Laws Must Be Passed To Address The Increase In The

Number AndTypes 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.

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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 of the legal fees so we could fight
for our rights.” (Interview with Steve Jackson, fellow hacker,
who was charged in operation Sun Devil) The case of Steve Jackson
Games vs. Secret Service has yet to come to a verdict yet but
should very soon. The secret service seized all of Steve
Jackson’s computer materials which he made a living on. They
charged that he made games that published information on how to
commit computer crimes. He was being charged with running a
underground hack system. “I told them it was only a game and that
I was angry and that was the way that I tell a story. I never
thought Hacker [Steve Jackson’s game] would cause such a problem.

My biggest problem was that they seized the BBS (Bulletin Board
System) and because of that I had to make drastic cuts, so we
laid of eight people out of 18. If the Secret Service had just
come with a subpoena we could have showed or copied every file in
the building for them.”(Steve Jackson Interview)
Computer professionals are grappling not only with issues of free
speech and civil liberties, but also with how to educate the
public and the media to the difference between on-line computer
experimenters. They also point out that, while the computer
networks and the results are a new kind of crime, they are
protected by the same laws and freedom of any real world domain.

“A 14-year old boy connects his home computer to a television
line, and taps into the computer at his neighborhood bank and
regularly transfers money into his personnel account.”
(2600:Spring 93,p.19) On paper and on screens a popular new
mythology is growing quickly in which computer criminals are the
‘Butch Cassidys’ of the electronic age. “These true tales of
computer capers are far from being futuristic fantasies.”
(2600:Spring 93:p.19) They are inspired by scores of real life
cases. Computer crimes are not just crimes against the computer,
but it is also against the theft of money, information, software,
benefits and welfare and many more.

“With the average damage from a computer crime amounting to about
$.5 million, sophisticated computer crimes can rock the
industry.”(Phrack 25,p.6) Computer crimes can take on many
forms. Swindling or stealing of money is one of the most common
computer crime. An example of this kind of crime is the Well
Fargo Bank that discovered an employee was using the banks
computer to embezzle $21.3 million, it is the largest U.S.

electronic bank fraud on record. (Phrack 23,p.46)
Credit Card scams are also a type of computer crime. This is one
that fears many people and for good reasons. A fellow computer
hacker that goes by the handle of Raven is someone who uses
his computer to access credit data bases. In a talk that I had
with him he tried to explain what he did and how he did it. He is
a very intelligent person because he gained illegal access to a
credit data base and obtained the credit history of local
residents. He then allegedly uses the residents names and credit
information to apply for 24 Mastercards and Visa cards. He used
the cards to issue himself at least 40,000 in cash from a number
of automatic teller machines. He was caught once but was only
withdrawing $200 and in was a minor larceny and they couldn’t
prove that he was the one who did the othe