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Computer Crime

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According to term computer crime means Criminal activity directly related to the use of computers, specifically illegal trespass into the computer system or database of another, manipulation or theft of stored or on-line data, or sabotage of equipment and data.

There are many ways to commit computer crime. Some examples of computer crime are:

1) Accessing a computer, system, or network.

2) Modifying, damaging, using, disclosing, copying, or taking programs or data.

3) Introducing a virus or other contaminant into a computer system.

4) Using a computer in a scheme to defraud.

5) Interfering with someone elseÐŽ¦s computer access or use.

6) Using encryption in aid of a crime.

7) Falsifying e-mail source information.

8) Stealing an information service from a provider.

Over the last twenty years, a technological revolution has occurred, as computers are now an essential element of todayÐŽ¦s society. In the world of computers, computer fraud and computer crime are very prevalent issues facing every computer user. Computers without any means of security are vulnerable to attacks from viruses, worms, and illegal computer hackers. A definition of computer crime has changed over the years as the users and misusers of computers have expanded into new areas. When computer were first introduced into businesses, computer crime was defined simply as a form of while-collar crimes committed inside a computer system. Computer crimes are hard to define, because the term is not subject to a precise definition, and it requires vast amounts of computer knowledge to understand how and why it happened.

If we defined the term "computer", it means an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other high speed data processing device performing logical, arithmetic, or storage functions, and includes any data storage facility or communications facility directly related to or operating in conjunction with such device, but such term does not include an automated typewriter or typesetter, a portable hand held calculator, or other similar device. Computer crime laws in many states prohibit a person from performing certain acts without authorization, including others listed above.

To prevent computer fraud and computer crime the government had to take a few steps. In 1974, they passed a simple Federal Privacy Act of 1974. A decade later, the computer crime was increasing rapidly, the government amended the acts and made it a federal crime. In the summary of the Acts, they are as follows:

„П Federal Privacy Act of 1974: Goes further that the Freedom of Information Act in that it requires that individuals be able to correct federal information about themselves, by requiring that agency information not be used for alternate purposes without the individual's consent. Under this act an individual may ask a federal judge to order the correction of errors if the federal agency does not do so.

„П Small Business Computer Security and Education Act of 1984: The act created an educational council that meets annually to advise the Small Business Administration on a variety of computer crime and security issues affecting small business.

„П Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986: Makes it a federal crime to intentionally access a computer for such purposes as 1) obtaining top-secret military information, personal financial or credit information; 2) committing a fraud; 3) altering or destroying federal information.

„П Computer Security Act of 1987: Requires more than 550 federal agencies to develop computer security plans for each computer system that processes sensitive information. The plans are reviewed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Even after passing these acts, computer crime and computer fraud are at the same speed. We will look three case which had have happed in last twenty years.

U.S. v. Ivanov

On July 25, 2003, United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson sentenced Alexey V. Ivanov, formerly from Chelyabinsk, Russia, at the federal courthouse in Hartford, Connecticut. Ivanov was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of forty-eight months, to be followed by three (3) years of supervised release.

He was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA, 18 U.S.C. ÐŽ± 1030(a)(4)) because his actions effected and were intended to effect computers in Connecticut. Alexsey was thus found to have "obtained value" within the meaning of the CFAA by this exercise of control over computers which contained valuable data and attempting to extort money from their owner. He had hacked into the computers of the Online Information Bureau, Inc. (OIB), a facilitator of financial transactions for e-businesses, which contained data such as credit card numbers of customers and merchant account numbers. He then sent e-mails to OIB indicating that he had found out their key passwords and insisting that they hire him to "check security" for approximately $10,000. Merely viewing data in computers is not a crime under the CFAA, but the fact that he obtained information from OIBÐŽ¦s computers over which he exercised control was sufficient to find the "value" needed to charge him under the CFAA and confer jurisdiction. Ivanov had previously pleaded guilty in these proceedings and admitted to numerous charges of conspiracy, computer intrusion (i.e., "hacking"), computer fraud, credit card fraud, wire fraud, and extortion. Those charges stemmed from the activities of Ivanov and others who operated from Russia and hacked into dozens of computers throughout the United States, stealing usernames, passwords, credit card information, and other financial data, and then extorting those victims with the threat of deleting their data and destroying their computer systems. In sentencing Ivanov, the district judge described his participation as a "manager or supervisor" in an "unprecedented, wide-ranging, organized criminal enterprise" that "engaged in numerous acts of fraud, extortion, and intentional damage to the property of others, involving the sophisticated manipulation of computer data, financial information, and credit card numbers." The district judge found that Ivanov was responsible for an aggregate loss of approximately $25 million.

U.S. v. Salcedo et. al.(W.D. N.C.)

Brian Salcedo and his co-defendant



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