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Computer Crime (2899 words) Essay

Computer CrimeIt’s the weekend, you have nothing to do so you decide to play around on yourcomputer.

You turn it on and then start up, you start calling people with yourmodem, connecting to another world, with people just like you at a button pressaway. This is all fine but what happens when you start getting into otherpeoples computer files. Then it becomes a crime, but what is a computer crimereally, obviously it involves the use of a computer but what are these crimes. Well they are: Hacking, Phreaking, ; Software Piracy. To begin I will startwith Hacking, what is hacking.

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Hacking is basically using your computer to”Hack” your way into another. They use programs called scanners whichrandomly dials numbers any generating tones or carriers are recorded. Thesenumbers are looked at by hackers and then used again, when the hacker calls upthe number and gets on he’s presented with a logon prompt, this is where thehacking really begins, the hacker tries to bypass this anyway he knows how toand tries to gain access to the system. Why do they do it, well lets go to abook and see “Avid young computer hackers in their preteens and teens arefrequently involved in computer crimes that take the form of trespassing,invasion of privacy, or vandalism.

Quite often they are mearly out for a fun andgames evening, and they get entangled in the illegal use of their machineswithout realizing the full import of what they are doing”, I have a hardtime believing that so lets see what a “hacker” has to say about whathe does “Just as they were enthraled with their pursuit of information, soare we. The thrill of the hack is not in breaking the law, it’s in the pursuitand capture of knowledge. “, as you can see the “hacker” doesn’tgo out to do destroy things although some do. It’s in the pursuit of knowledge. Of course this is still against the law.

But where did all of this start, MIT iswhere hacking started the people there would learn and explore computer systemsall around the world. In the views of professional hacking is like drugs or anyother addictive substance, it’s an addiction for the mind and once started it’sdifficult to stop. This could be true, as hackers know what they are doing iswrong and they know odds are they will be caught. But as I mentioned somehackers are just above average criminals, using there skills to break in banksand other places where they can get money, or where they can destroyinformation. What a hacker does at a bank is take a few cents or even a fewfractions of a cents from many different accounts this may seem like nothing butwhen all compiled can be alot.

A stick up robber averages about $8,000 each”job”, and he has to put his life and personal freedom on the line todo it while the computer hacker in the comfort of his own living room averages$500,000 a “job”. As for people destroying information, this is fortaking some one down, destruction of data could end a business which for some isvery attractive. It can cost a company thousands of dollars to restore thedamage done. Now that you have an understanding of what a “hacker” is,it time to move on to someone closely associates with a hacker. This is a Phreak,but what is that.

For the answer we turn to the what is known as the”Official” Phreakers Manual “Phreak 1. The action ofusing mischievous and mostly illegal ways in order to not pay for some sort oftelecommunications bill, order, transfer, or other service. It often involvesusage of highly illegal boxes and machines in order to defeat the security thatis set up to avoid this sort of happening. v.

2. A person who usesthe above methods of destruction and chaos in order to make a better life forall. A true phreaker will not go against his fellows or narc on people who haveragged on him or do anything termed to be dishonourable to phreaks. n. 3. A certain code or dialup useful in the action of being a phreak.

(Example:”I hacked a new metro phreak last night. “)” The latter 2 ideas ofwhat a phreak is, is rather weird. A Phreak like the hacker likes to explore andexperiment, however his choice of exploring is not other computer but the phonesystem as a whole. Phreaks explore the phone system finding many different waysto do things, most often make free calls.

Why do they do this, ” A hackerand phreaker will have need to use telephone systems much more than an averageindividual, therefore, methods which can be used to avoid toll charges are inorder. “. A phreak has two basic ways of making free calls, he can call upcodes or PBXs on his phone and then enter a code and make his call or he can useElectronic Toll Fraud Devices. Codes are rather easy to get the phreak will scanfor them, but unlike a hacker will only save the tone(s) number instead of thecarrier(s). Then he will attempt to hack the code to use it, these codes rangefrom numbers 0 – 9 and can be any length, although most are not more than 10.

Electronic Toll Fraud Devices are known as Boxes in the underground. Most arethe size of a pack of smokes, or than can be smaller or bigger. I will not gotoo deep. They are electronic devices than do various things, such as makeoutgoing calls free, make incoming calls free, simulate coins dropping in aphone, etc. People who “Phreak” are caught alot these days thanks tothe new technology. Software Piracy is the most common computer crime, it is theillegal coping of software.

“People wouldn’t think of shoplifting softwarefrom a retail store, but don’t think twice about going home and making severalillegal copies of the same software. ” and this is true because I myself amguilty of this. The major problem is not people going out and buying thesoftware then making copies for everyone, it’s the Bulletin Boards that cater topirating software, that really cause the problem. On anyone one of these boardsone can find an upwards of 300 – 1000+ of pirated software open for anyone totake.

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This is a problem and nothing can really be done about it. Few arrests aremade in this area of computer crime. I will now devote a brief section to theabove mentioned BBS’ , most are legal and do nothing wrong. However there aremany more that do accept pirated software, pornographic pictures, animations ,and texts. As well as a trading area for phone codes, other BBS’, Credit Cardnumbers, etc. This is where a majority of Hackers and Phreaks come, as well asthose who continue to pirate software come to meet and share stories.

In this isa new world, where you can do anything, there are groups that get, crack, andcourier software all over the world some of them are called: INC: InternationalNetwork Of Crackers, THG: The Humble Guys, TDT: The Dream Team. As well a numberof other groups have followed suit such as Phalcon/SKISM (Smart Kids Into SickMethods), NuKE, and YAM (Youngsters Against McAfee) these are virus groups whowrite and courier their work anywhere they can, they just send it somewhere,where anyone can take it and use it in any manner they wish, such as gettingeven with someone. All of these activities are illegal but nothing can be done,the people running these boards know what they are doing. As it stands rightnow, the BBS world is in two parts Pirating and the Underground, which consistsof Hackers/Phreaks/Anarchists/Carders(Credit Card Fraud)/Virus programmers. Allhave different boards and offer a variety of information on virtually anysubject.

Well from all of this reading you just did you should have a fairlygood idea of what computer crime is. I didn’t mention it in the sections but thepolice, phone companies are arresting and stopping alot of things every day. With the new technology today it is easier to catch these criminals then it wasbefore. With the exception of the BBS’ the police have made some major blowsbusting a few BBS’, arresting hackers and phreaks. All of which were very lookedup to for knowledge in their areas of specialty. If I had more time I could gointo these arrests but I must finish by saying that these are real crimes andthe sentences are getting harsher, with alot of the older people getting out thenewer people are getting arrested and being made examples of.

This will deteralot of would-be computer criminal away. The word virus can be verydisheartening, especially when computers are involved. A virus is composed ofinstructions hidden inside a program. These instructions copy themselves toother programs, and the cycle continues spreading.

Fortunately, help isavailable; antivirus software is available to anyone. “Viruses firstappeared in 1985. Then, they were largely created in university laboratories bymostly wayward geniuses keen to pit their programming skills against each other. Since then, errant programmers began to create newer and more destructiveviruses targeted at specific user groups. ” (Yang, 1998) A computer viruscan be as “evil as it sounds, snaking its way into personal computers,posing an occasional annoyance or a serious threat to all data.

” (Miastkowski,1998) Symptoms can range from unpleasant to fatal. Computer viruses spread fromprogram to program and computer to computer, “much as biological virusesspread within individual. . .

members of a society. ” (Chess, 1997) Disketteswere the “primary carriers of viruses in the 1980s. “(“Computer,” 1997) Today, they are e-mail attachments, file transfersand infected software downloads or uploads. Networks can even spread viruses tolarge numbers of connected PCs rapidly. (Yang, 1998) No one working on a is risk free; more viruses are being spread today than everbefore, but more help is being developed as well. Special software is now instores that will help to prevent any major disasters that viruses can cause.

(Miastkowski,1998) Antivirus software is a program that protects against viruses. It scansall files on the hard disk, diskettes, CD ROM, and memory to locate viruses. (“Computer,” 1997) The life cycle of a virus is rather complicated; itbegins when a user runs an infected program. The computer copies the programfrom the disk into RAM, random access memory, where it can be performed.

Theviral code begins to run, and the virus copies itself into a part of RAM that isseparate from the program. This allows the pesky virus to continue to spreadwhile another program is running, until it is finished and passes back into theinfected program. “When the user runs a different program, the dormantvirus begins to run again. It inserts a copy.

. . into the. . . uninfected software sothat the cycle.

. . can repeat. ” (Chess, 1997) There are also other computerpests such as “worms” that effect networks, but viruses are the mostcommon. (Yang, 1998) Years of research have allowed scientists to find ways todetect and destroy viruses. (Chess, 1997) “Building on decades of researchby mathematical epidemiologists, have obtained some understandingof the factors that govern how quickly viruses spread.

” (Yegulalp, 1997)Many researchers feel that they owe much to “pattern-matching techniquesdeveloped by computational biologists. ” (Chess, 1997) This has helped themto develop antivirus software from the defenses used by the human body to fightoff pathogens. According to an independent survey by the National ComputerSecurity Association, the infection rate for personal computers in North Americahas more than tripled in the last year. (McDonald, 1997) “In the 1990s, thevirus problem has become an epidemic.

New forms, including the shape-changingpolymorphic virus, elusive stealth strains, and the very common macro virusesare making their appearance with alarming frequency. ” (Yang, 1998) Themacro viruses are big problems; they infect very popular programs such asMicrosoft Word and Microsoft Excel. This type of virus can effect daily workmuch easier than any other virus. (Miastkowski, 1998) “Almost any package does a nice job of finding and eradicating most viruses, including macroviruses.

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The key is to keep the products’ library of signatures–binary codethat helps identify viruses–current. ” (Yegulalp, 1997) That is one areawhere these packages differ most. Some of the major brands of antivirus softwareinclude Norton AntiVirus 4. 0, PC-cillin 3.

0, Dr. Solomon’s Anti-Virus 7. 0,McAfee VirusScan 3. 0, and IBM AntiVirus 3. 0.

1. (Miastkowski, 1998) “All theprograms share some common attributes; for starters. . .

each program indeed huntsdown and eradicates the bugs introduced into a system. ” (Cope, 1998) Byfar, the best at detecting and destroying viruses is Norton AntiVirus 4. 0; itoffers superior protection. This particular software uses a virus-detectiontechnology called “Bloodhound.

” It “sniffs out viruses that mayhave been mutated beyond their original forms. ” (Yegulalp, 1997)TouchStone’s PC-cillin 3. 0 follows closely behind Norton AntiVirus 4. 0; itprovides sufficient protection, and updates are available over the internet.

(Miastkowski,1998) “Each program scans or boot-sector and memory-resident virusesautomatically when turns on the computer. ” They also include aWindows 95 antivirus shield that blocks contamination from infected floppy disksand warns the user when a tainted file is being run. “In addition, they letusers perform manual scans of any drive from within Windows 95, and alsocheck. .

. files downloaded from the Internet. ” (Cope, 1998) “NortonAntiVirus 4. 0 generously incorporates its Windows NT, DOS, Windows 3. x andWindows 95 editions into one package.

PC-cillin also runs under NT, althoughTouchStone ships the NT edition as a separate product. ” (Yegulalp, 1997)Another advantage to the Norton AntiVirus software is the installation process;it is not difficult, and several options are provided for the user. NortonAntiVirus can load live protection and allow the user to create a rescue diskset. The rescue disk set backs up the system, allowing the user to boot andrecover from a virus attack. (“Hackers,” 1997) The PC-cillin softwareis very protective also.

“Upon installation, PC-cillin immediately makessure its own files are clean, since an infected antivirus program is powerlessto prevent further infection. ” (Yegulalp, 1997) This program also offers abackup system and scan of the system before Windows 95 loads. (Yang, 1998) Thelatest version of PC-cillin informs the user as it is scanning an internetconnection. It “offers much tighter functionality than before. Earlier PC-cillinusers will definitely want to upgrade. ” (Yegulalp, 1997) On the surface, itlooks as if the odds are against personal computer users.

Despite increased useof antivirus software, viruses continue to spread at an unnerving rate. (McDonald, 1997) Clearly, anti-virus software is one of the smartest buys acomputer owner can make. There are nearly 10,000 known computer virusesthreatening the world’s personal computers, “with effects ranging fromrelatively harmless to ferociously destructive. ” (Cope, 1998) Thesetroublemakers can spread to personal computers easily from an infected floppydisk, as well as from files downloaded onto the hard drive from an e- mailattachment and the Internet. (McDonald, 1997) Despite the great reviews of theseantivirus programs, many computer researchers maintain a sense of skepticismtowards complete protection.

“Regardless of how sophisticated antivirustechnology may become, computer viruses will forever remain in an uneasycoexistence with us and our computers. ” (Chess, 1997) Unless there areupdates to virus scanners every few minutes, no one is completely safe from adestructive virus. New viruses are popping up so fast that virus scanner vendorscannot hope to keep up with them. Even with the best of tools and policies,”bulletproof security is probably unattainable.

High costs, changingnetworks and software versions, incomplete security tools, and the growing poolof ingenious and dedicated hackers prohibit this. ” (“Hackers,”1997) The numbers of people who can create new viruses have also increased. (Yang, 1998) “, a group of hackers quickly cracked amuch-vaunted. . .

code using relatively simple brute force techniques. “(“Hackers,” 1997) This breach of security was only five weeks afterthe data security invited the attack in the hope of proving its codes resistantto such attacks. Over several years, people have been perfecting the care ofpersonal computers. However, over that same amount of time, others have beenhard at work to develop new ways to cause a system to “crash. ” Someproblems with a personal computer cannot be stopped, but preventative action cantake place for viruses. Every computer user should be equipped with an antivirusprogram; there is no way of predicting whether or not a simple file contains atremendous virus.

The user must leave such a decision to the computer itself;only it can detect and destroy the virus. By purchasing a simple antiviruspackage, each computer user can hamper viruses from entering and destroying hispersonal computer. After taking all of the costs into consideration, it is muchmore expensive to rebuild a computer after destruction than it is to purchase aneffective antivirus software package. BibliographyChess, David, Jeffrey Kephart, Gregory Sorkin, and Steve White. “Fighting Computer Viruses: Biological Metaphors Offer Insight into ManyAspects of Computer Viruses and Can Inspire Defenses Against Them.

“Scientific American Nov. 1997: 134-138. “Computer. ” The World BookEncyclopedia.

1997. Cope, Jim. “A Buyer’s Guide To Virus Protection: Getthe Lowdown on Six Win 95 Programs that Keep Digital Bugs from Invading your PCand Destroying your Files. ” NetGuide Mar. 1998: 143-146 “Hackers,Terrorists, and Spies: You know they’re coming at you. Can you stop them?”Software Magazine Oct.

1997: 76. McDonald, Glenn. “Viruses: An Anatomy ofMass Hysteria. ” PCWorld Sept.

1997: 123-125 Miastkowski, Stan. “VirusKillers 1998: This Year, Macro Viruses are Running Rampant. Which AntivirusProgram is Your Best Defense?” PC World Mar. 1998: 114-116. Yang, W.

D. “Be Aware of Viruses and Use Protection. ” Computer Times 18 February1998: 85-89. Yegulalp, Serdar. “Head to Head: Antivirus Software VirusProtection Superheroes.” Windows Magazin

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Computer Crime (2899 words) Essay
Computer CrimeIt's the weekend, you have nothing to do so you decide to play around on yourcomputer. You turn it on and then start up, you start calling people with yourmodem, connecting to another world, with people just like you at a button pressaway. This is all fine but what happens when you start getting into otherpeoples computer files. Then it becomes a crime, but what is a computer crimereally, obviously it involves the use of a computer but what are these crimes. Well they a
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Computer Crime (2899 words) Essay
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