Computer crime, or cybercrime, refers to any crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target. Netcrime refers to criminal exploitation of the Internet. Such crimes may threaten a nation’s security and financial health. Issues surrounding this type of crime have become high-profile, particularly those surrounding cracking, copyright infringement, child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidentialinformation is lost or intercepted, lawfully or otherwise.
Internationally, both governmental and non-state actors engage in cybercrimes, including espionage, financial theft, and other cross-border crimes. Activity crossing international borders and involving the interests of at least one nationstate is sometimes referred to as cyber warfare. The international legal system is attempting to hold actors accountable for their actions through the International Criminal Court.
One of the highest profiled banking computer crime occurred during a course of three years beginning in 1970. The chief teller at the Park Avenue branch of New York’s Union Dime Savings Bank embezzled over $1.5 million from hundreds of accounts.
A hacking group called the MOD (Masters of Deception), allegedly stole passwords and technical data from Pacific Bell, Nynex, and other telephone companies as well as several big credit agencies and two major universities. The damage caused was extensive, one company, Southwestern Bell suffered losses of $370,000 alone.
In 1983, a nineteen year old UCLA student used his PC to break into a Defense Department international communications system.
Between 1995 and 1998 the Newscorp satellite pay to view encrypted SKY-TV service was hacked several times during an on-going technological arms race between a pan-European hacking group and Newscorp. The original motivation of the hackers was to watch Star Trek re-runs in Germany; which was something which Newscorp did not have the copyright to allow.
On 26 March 1999, the Melissa worm infected a document on a victim’s computer, then automatically sent that document and copy of the virus via e-mail to other people.
In February 2000 a individual going by the alias of MafiaBoy began a series denial-of-service attacks against high profile websites, including Yahoo!, Amazon.com, Dell, Inc., E*TRADE,eBay, and CNN. About fifty computers at Stanford University, and also computers at the University of California at Santa Barbara, were amongst the zombie computers sending pings inDDoS attacks. On 3 August 2000, Canadian federal prosecutors charged MafiaBoy with 54 counts of illegal access to computers, plus a total of ten counts of mischief to data for his attacks.
The Russian Business Network (RBN) was registered as an internet site in 2006. Initially, much of its activity was legitimate. But apparently the founders soon discovered that it was more profitable to host illegitimate activities and started hiring its services to criminals. The RBN has been described by VeriSign as “the baddest of the bad”. It offers web hosting services and internet access to all kinds of criminal and objectionable activities, with an individual activities earning up to $150 million in one year. It specialized in and in some cases monopolized personal identity theft for resale. It is the originator of MPack and an alleged operator of the Storm botnet.
On 2 March 2010, Spanish investigators busted 3[clarification needed] in infection of over 13 million computers around the world. The “botnet” of infected computers included PCs inside more than half of the Fortune 1000 companies and more than 40 major banks, according to investigators.
In August 2010 the international investigation Operation Delego, operating under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security, shut down the international pedophile ring Dreamboard. The website had approximately 600 members, and may have distributed up to 123 terabytes of child pornography (roughly equivalent to 16,000 DVDs). To date this is the single largest U.S. prosecution of an international child pornography ring; 52 arrests were made worldwide.
- ^ Moore, R. (2005) “Cybercrime: Investigating High-Technology Computer Crime,” Cleveland, Mississippi: Anderson Publishing.
- ^ Warren G. Kruse, Jay G. Heiser (2002). Computer forensics: incident response essentials. Addison-Wesley. pp. 392. ISBN 0201707195.
- ^ Mann and Sutton 1998: >>Netcrime: More change in the Organization of Thieving. British Journal of Criminology; 38: 201-229. Oxfordjournals.org
- ^ Internet Security Systems. March-2005.
- ^ Ophardt, Jonathan A. “Cyber warfare and the crime of aggression: the need for individual accountability on tomorrow’s battlefield” Duke Law and Technology Review, February 23, 2010.
- ^ a b c Weitzer, Ronald (2003). Current Controversies in Criminology. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Press. pp. 150.
- ^ Mann, D. and Sutton, M. (1998) >>Netcrime: More Change in the Organization of Thieving. British Journal of Criminology. 38:PP. 201-229 Oxfordjournals.org
- ^ “A walk on the dark side”. The Economist. 2007-09-30.
- ^ http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/20110803-napolitano-holder-announce-largest-prosecution-criminal-network.shtm