Computer Crime

English 12-2

16 April 2004

One hundred years ago, computer crimes were not heard of. New technologies bring new problems. The invention of the computer has made our lives to accomplish new things much easier in many ways. We have experienced many benefits such as improved working conditions, the space program, and new entertainment. Unfortunately, it has produced some bad things like computer criminals.

Computer crimes are serious. Now that society is used to depending on computer for their work and every day life computer crimes can ruin our businesses and even cause dangerous situations. On this paper I will examine computer crime in the U.S – define it, the history of it, the laws, punishment, and possible solution.

Computer crime is a very complex topic and it as Ellen Pagdor made clear on Computer Crime on the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice “Computer crime cannot be put under one category due to the divergence of conduct, victim, etc...” (222); this is by far the least understood crime by the law. The definition of this crime varies on all the countries thus “there is no internationally recognized definition of computer crime” (Pagdor 222). However, the definition of computer crimes is specifically related to computer technologies. In other words if a person steals or throws a computer to another person it is not considered computer crime. “The computer is the object used to commit computer crime. As well as it can be the target” (Pagdor 222). Slowly it is evolving into something more complex. “There is an endless list of crimes that can be committed over the internet” (Pagdor 222). Computers can be a challenge to some and a threat to others. Hacking is the most dangerous of all computer crimes, since when this crime is committed, another can be easily followed. People who commit this crime are also called Cyber-Terrorists; according to Pete Simpson whom is a senior writer for Computer Weekly, “The word “cyber” refers to the internet and the web, terrorism refers to acts of terrorism. Cyber terrorism is not necessarily like a Road gridlocked, trains colliding, or power outages” (Simpson 1” This word has a different meaning and it is not what most people would think it is. “Though there are no verified acts of terrorism that have been witnessed on this field” (1). This word generally refers to hackers and is just an imaginary word to better describe them, even though there are no terrorists online, yet. If there were, they could bring total havoc to a country or the world.

“Cyber-Terror is a word implemented by the people’s imagination” (Simpson 2). The experienced computer specialists know that the threats of cyber-terrorism hyped in the media are widely unrealistic” (Simpson 3). Usually the word hacker does not describe someone who commits to a computer crime, but according attorney Ronald B. Standler, “a skilled computer programmer” (“Computer Crime” 1), even though Americans use the word hacker to identify criminals. “Crimes committed with the use of a computer are no different than the ones without a computer” (Standler, “Computer Crime 2). Hackers must understand this fact; he or she might think that it is a game, but if he or she is caught, they must pay the consequences. The first viruses made where back in the middle 80’s. In 1986 the first known computer virus was made; it was originated from Pakistan. This virus was transferred through floppies disks, since the internet was not available until the early 90’s. The early computer crimes required the attacker to have physical access to the computer in order to steal data. Today the internet opened a gateway to hackers and made it easy to have access to every computer in the world. “Computers can operate globally, so the criminal can commit a crime in another country without actually leaving the country or even home.” A hacker needs no passport and passes no checkpoints” (Pagdor 225). This is why this is such a challenge for the authorities, he or she may be able to do nothing about a computer crime since it might have been made from international grounds and there might be no laws against these criminals in the country of the crime origin. “Modern computer crimes today are made remotely and can be from one side