Monthly Archives: May 2016

Various Internet Crimes

Knowing what crimes are transpiring online allows many individuals to avoid the scams, violations and criminal activity present online. This may also ensure an individual averts danger by not being drawn into the crime himself or herself. Some offenses may arise with no knowledge that they are occurring or being perpetuated by a specific individual. It is in these situations that knowledge and understanding help a person stay out of trouble with the law.

The Growing Problem

Crimes are growing in frequency and numbers within the United States in regards to the internet with the use of a myriad of devices. These may range from various types of fraud to instances of child pornography possession and distribution. Consequences for violations often vary depending upon certain factors and the offense committed. The severity of the crime committed is often also determined by certain criteria as well as what offense occurred. Cyber crimes are the illegal use of the internet in violation of private computers, network systems, corporate data access and similar regions of online areas.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stated that special priority for cyber crimes goes to specific areas where attention is needed. These usually include intrusion of computers, predators found online, piracy of media and the many types of fraud. Because intrusion into private computers costs a person so much money, it is important to avert these issues. Company losses are in the billions each year with these violations. Hacking into networks and personal devices, a hacker frequently disturbs, damages or changes information that may cause complete and permanent damages to vital systems of a business or home network. Most instances are for the theft of data, but some include business deals that are deemed illegal as well as potential or actual terrorism.

Crimes of Child Pornography

It is vital for many law enforcement agencies to focus on child predators that use online access to spread their collection, solicit minors and obtain illegal images of children. The FBI has created several task forces to combat this threat. One such created task force is the Innocent Images National Initiative that assists in combating against collection and distribution of pornographic media of minors. Both state and federal laws are broken when a person creates, possesses, sells or distributes any and all media involving what has been considered pornographic images of a minor under the age of eighteen. Though some stipulations vary based on the state, even a single instance of possession may lead to up to five years behind prison bars.

This crime is widespread and is a fast growing issue in the United States with potential for more than one type of offense. Those perpetrating this violation of the law may use the internet for viewing child pornography, in order to prepare minors for prostitution or to groom children for various criminal activities. When convicted of charges involving young persons, the adult may spend up to fifteen years in prison with possible additional fines, programs for rehabilitation and other penalties.

Piracy on the Internet

The news has covered the spread of theft of intellectual property. Though the crime has been occurring by numerous individuals and agencies for hundreds of years, the age of technology has shed light on the theft of media and private property. Intellectual property encompasses music in any form, books for reading and study, individual and collections of art, phrases attributed to persons, designs created by a person or group and other items. It is an illegal act to copy or distribute any material protected by copyright or trademark without the consent of the creator or owner. To prevent accidental crimes of this nature, the FBI has been attempting to educate everyone in the public domain about how serious this crime is and that it has been considered the theft of someone’s property or creation.

How to Help Commit Crimes

Foreign Crimes with Computers

Many scams are available and practiced online by various individuals and groups throughout numerous countries. These may be initiated by a governmental intelligence or private persons seeking monetary gain through concocted schemes to rob others. Some countries seek to sneak into the internet portals through the use of someone’s access or personal information. This may lead to the theft of this information, fraud crimes, infiltration of corporate data and various other issues. Because of these actions, it is essential to become aware of what emails and data are being accessed through a personal computer. Both internet and intranets of companies may be left open to attacks.

China, Computer Crime and Statistics

Before the explosion of technology’s ever-growing use and evolution, China had less than 200 crimes involving computers. Before 2000, the country was not considered an online threat or presence. After 20009, over 48,000 internet and computer crimes were reported in the country. These include the possession and distribution of child pornography, gambling violations, the creation and spread of viruses, computer and network hacks and other crimes. Since 2009, over one million IP addresses had control from other countries. Over 40,000 sites were pulled down or destroyed and at least 18 million computers were infected with various viruses. This was about 30 percent of all computers in the country.

Crimes of computer and internet use were discovered and used by the Chinese Government for militaristic and technological matters. Information is gathered through the internet attacks as well as hacking to obtain data on oil businesses as well as many other companies and organizations. The information taken from these oil businesses was used to attack their computer networks in various countries from the United States to Kazakhstan. Information in financial data, bidding wars, operations at work and other similar documentation was stolen. Cyber-attacks such as these have been perpetrated by this country to websites as well as networks and solitary computer systems.

Using a Computer to Commit Crimes

While China is not the only country to launch attacks on organizations, companies and other countries, the nation may be the most successful. Individual hacking may be utilized through the use of a personal computer, anonymous device or some type of handheld machine. The most effective types of hacks involve code generated for specific means. These may be to steal information, change programs or system, obtain something to seek financial gain or other matters. It is often the big corporations that contain the information a hacker may use the most to provide a way of greater monetary advantage. The use of software may be utilized to copy usernames and passwords for access to private or protected information. This permits these individuals to peruse systems, websites, databases and other areas of a company or area of the internet.

Once information has been stolen and copied, it may be used to commit many crimes. Addresses, phone numbers and names are often the only information needed to purchase items online. Credit card numbers may be taken in addition to causing chaos for individuals. Usually, those that use this type of data for personal purchases are those arrested by law enforcement. A hacker may only use a person’s credit information to cause harm to others or provide a means of distraction for other actions he or she may take. The same may be accomplished at a website. The person may use feint attacks against the security of a website or secure computer network and use his or her real skills elsewhere while the system is overwhelmed.

Legal Action Against Computer Criminals

When the person perpetrating crimes online or through the use of a computer is a hacker, he or she usually covers his or her tracks to ensure no authorities discover who is truly responsible. Some of these persons cause even further harm by making it appear that someone else is the law breaker. However, when a person is caught, prosecuting against him or her may be difficult due to various factors.

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

With access through a public terminal, crimes may be more difficult to locate and charge against the correct person. Law enforcement has yet to catch up to the digital age that’s evolved from the first introduction of computers decades ago. This leads to the difficulty in prosecuting lawyers convicting persons or groups for crimes that involve the internet and computers.

Though the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was initially implemented in 1986, it has been altered several times to attempt to keep up with the change in how computers have been used by the public. The Act itself explains that anyone that accesses a computer with unauthorized entrance or login or uses it outside of given authorization with the intent to obtain information that is protected may suffer penalties through the Act. This has been used to prosecute many individuals for a vast variety of computer and internet crimes. Many of these include the theft of information or numerous instances and types of fraud.

Difficulty of Prosecution

Some individuals have stolen data from companies through the use of hacking. Of these at least one has taken this information with the intention of providing it for free to the public. This person was charged with an internet crime despite his cause of attempting to encourage free thought and the exchange of ideas between persons. Unfortunately, the courts viewed these actions as illegal. Due to the factors of the case, it became national news with a real possibility of prosecution. Others have done similar actions. Chapters of books have been leaked online for free while the books were either still under production or on the shelves for purchase.

Because crimes are often innocuous, it is difficult to nail down factors that allow for prosecution. However, when harm or injury comes to others or property, lawyers may find legal ways to ensure these individuals are issued penalties through the court. With the use of digital experts, the legal system may provide easier ways for the prosecution to stick to those committing internet and computer crimes.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act History

The initial implementation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act started in 1984. It was created to attempt to provide a guideline for federal and financial computer crimes understanding. Before computers became widespread with internet use, the government perceived a possible threat in hackers causing extensive damage. This Act was the guiding force that should allow prosecuting lawyers to pursue legal action against those accused of internet and computer crimes. Unfortunately, the broad and sometimes vague language used in the Act has made obtaining convictions difficult. The evolution of hacker crime has also allowed for the hiding behind others and various methods used by these individuals.
Prosecutor Challenges

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act did not provide for the evolution of law. This is in conjunction with the wording of the Act. One stipulation of the regulation specifies that it is illegal to access a protected computer without authorization, but this could mean only a subsection of computers such as an email server that’s been secured by state or federal departments. Only with case laws and new precedents does this Act include other domains. A new evolution of this Act has encompassed all computers that are connected to the internet across the world. Just as the electronic age has transformed, the law must keep up to ensure the rightful person or group is convicted of perpetrated crimes.

Penalties and Damages

Damage caused by hacking or computer and internet crimes must be considered with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Updates must include what harm occurs with these crimes. As all computers are now considered protected domains, damages have been specified to total $5000. This is only if the person committing the crime has not tampered with health care or threatened national security. Because of the alterations, a court may not move forward with any case that exceeds the $5000 limit in damages caused by the perpetrator. This could allow certain individuals to go free after committing specific actions.