This paper will examine the growing problem of computer crime in this country. Several different types of computer crime, as well as preventative measures for each, will be addressed. The high cost and legal aspects of computer crime will also be explored, and some case studies of current notorious hackers will be presented.
Computer crime can be divided into two main categories. The first and most important category is internal computer crime, which is simply that crime which is attributable to persons with authorized access to the computer system in question, such as an employee. Experts estimate that 80 percent of computer security breaches are internal. The second major category is external computer crime, which consists of unauthorized invasions of a system by outside persons, commonly known as hackers. With over 33 million desktop machines in use today, it is estimated that literally hundreds of thousands of people have now acquired the skills necessary to penetrate most systems.
These two main categories of computer crime can be further divided into two main subcategories: those crimes based on hardware and those crimes based on software. Hardware-based crimes are basically limited to electronic eavesdropping or wiretapping. Software-based crimes, on the other hand, are much more insidious and pervasive. This subcategory includes the notorious computer "virus". A virus is a tiny bit of software hidden within a larger, seemingly innocuous, program or "Trojan horse." A virus can do anything from merely delivering a surprise message (i.e. "Gotcha!") to wiping out every shred of data in a computer's memory. Virusses are so named because they are designed to self-replicate and spread throughout a network. Destructive software that wipes out memory but does not spread is called a "worm."
Many corporations now employ a variety of security measures to prevent these four types of computer crime. As mentioned ...