Computer Hacking

Computer crime started in the early 1970’s and has become more and more prevalent. Some computer crimes are committed by outside individuals that hack into a computer system. These are the people that usually steal data and cause data loss by vandalism. The most common kind of computer crime is espionage committed by people who work for a company, but this is also the one that you rarely hear about. They usually enter false data that will end up making money for them. Hackers are the world’s new bread of criminals and will soon be a major threat to the U.S.

Because America has become largely a computer society and now everyone will be at risk. Experts say, and should protect personal information about themselves, such as credit card numbers (Parker 54:G14). Armed with a computer rather than a gun hacker, who say they’re doing the world a favor by pointing out security loopholes, have a slew of ways to break the law (Frog 67:C11). Computer crime becomes a larger and more prevalent issue, as there is more value to criminally gain and the stakes raise in the hacker’s ego game. Only seventy-five computer crime prosecutions were reported in the United States in 1986, according to the National Center for Computer Crime Data in Santa Cruz, Calif. By 1989, that number jumped to 500 prosecutions. Computer crimes that year cost businesses and banks and, ultimately, consumers about $500 million. "As the use of computers has increased, so has their criminal misuse" (Parker 54:G13). Computers are used to obtain credit card numbers, which are then used to order thousands of dollars worth of whatever the hackers want.

"In recent years, individual outlaws and entire "gangs" have broken into computers all over the U.S., using their wits and wiles to pilfer and destroy data"(Francis p62). In a case of a 14-year-old high school freshman that was convicted of using stolen credit card numbers to order thousands of dollars of computer equipment, and then having it shipped to a vacant house. He obtained the stolen numbers through his computer, ordered many of the goods through his computer, and made an authentic looking purchase order on his computer when a company refused his order. This also shows that the computer can be used for more than just stealing but also in aiding in the illegal crimes (Parker 54:G13). "Hackers charged $42,815 in telephone calls to taxpayers in one month last year, using computers to access telephone lines at Washington’s Department of Information Services in Olympia" (Frog 67:C11). About 6,000 U.S. Department of Defense terminals were jammed when a Cornell University graduate student unleashed a computer virus in 1989. A teenage hacker in Seattle was arrested in 1989 for charging $100,000 in telephone calls to credit card numbers he got by dropping on ship-to-shore telephone calls. If people use credit, chances are a determined hacker can learn their financial secrets. All of this shows the different ways people can use computers to hack into other computers, stealing personal information and then cost the taxpayers money. Most of the people who do these things and then get caught say that it was easy to do, and this makes you think what else they could do if they tried.

"Out on the electronic, the bad guys are perfecting a new series of swindles, including cyberspace chain letters, computer Ponzi scams and high tech pyramid schemes (Mentor 76:B14). These scams are basically the same scams that have been going on for years, but the have now been upped to a new level by computers. Some people believe that if it is on the computer it is true. A worldwide telephone "lottery" was pitched on one on-line service, drawing in 20,000 investors who put in $200 each. Investors were told they would make big bucks by signing up others. It was later broken up and banded as a pyramid scheme by The Securities and Exchange Commission. Securities frauds such as "pump and dump" and phony "hot stock" schemes also have been detected. In one case, a promoter was able to get investors to bid shares in a shell company from 38 cents to $7.50 in just five months. One of the risks of all this is that anybody with a computer