The use of the internet in every aspect of modern life has grown to the point where most of the commerce of the world is transacted online. As the level of use and acceptance had grown, so too has its vulnerability to those who would abuse the system to perpetrate crimes ranging from fraud and theft to espionage and terrorism.
It is the known fact that e-commerce has become a fundamental part of business activity. Most of this e-commerce occurs on the websites of publicly traded companies. The term ‘cyberspace’ refers to the electronic medium of computer networks, principally the Web, in which online communication takes place. One of the problems of e-business or cyber-business is that it is vulnerable to e-crime, also called cyber crime . Cyber crime costs publicly traded companies billions of dollars annually in stolen assets, lost business, and damaged reputations. Cash can be stolen, literally with the push of a button. If a company website goes down, customers will take their business elsewhere.
In addition to the immediate losses associated with cyber crime, when a company falls prey to cyber criminals, this may concern customers who worry about the security of their business transactions with the company. As a result, a company can lose future business if it is perceived to be vulnerable to cyber crime. Such vulnerability may even lead to a decrease in the market value of the company, due to legitimate concerns by financial analysts, investors, and creditors.
We formally define cyber crime and computer forensics in the following section.
Criminal activity which uses or takes place through communications technology, including the Internet, telephony and wireless technology . And those who commit cyber crimes are cyber criminals. There are different types of cyber criminals depending on the motives they have for coming cyber crimes. They are briefly described in the following sections.
Types of cyber criminals
Different types of cyber criminals are as follows:
Hackers are generally people who enjoy the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. They explore the detail of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities.
Crackers tend to break into secure systems illegally. Most press articles erroneously refer to them as ‘hackers’.
Cyber Terrorists employ hacker techniques to threaten or attack systems, networks and data to pursue political or social agendas.
Malware Writers are people who are responsible for creating malicious programs such as viruses, worms and Trojan horses.
Samurai are hackers who are hired to conduct legal cracking jobs, such as the penetration of corporate systems for legitimate reasons.
Phreakers specifically concentrate on hacking into telephone networks and associated technologies.
These different types of cyber criminals are further categorized into the following categories.
It seems really difficult to believe but it is true. Most amateur hackers and cyber criminals are teenagers. To them, who have just begun to understand what appears to be a lot about computers, it is a matter of pride to have hacked into a computer system or a website. There is also that little issue of appearing really smart among friends. These young rebels may also commit cyber crimes without really knowing that they are doing anything wrong.
Hacktivists are hackers with a particular (mostly political) motive. In other cases this reason can be social activism, religious activism, etc. The attacks on approximately 200 prominent Indian websites by a group of hackers known as Pakistani Cyber Warriors are a good example of political hacktivists at work.
One can hardly believe how spiteful displeased employees can become. Till now they had the option of going on strike against their bosses. Now, with the increase independence on computers and the automation of processes, it is easier for disgruntled employees to do more harm to their employers by committing computer related crimes, which can bring entire systems down.
Extensive computerization has resulted in business organizations storing all their information in electronic form. Rival organizations employ hackers to steal industrial secrets and other information that could be beneficial to them. The temptation to use professional hackers for industrial espionage also stems from the fact that physical presence required to gain access to important documents is rendered needless if hacking can retrieve those.
Types of Cyber Crime
A computer virus is a computer program that piggybacks or attaches itself to application programs or other executable system software; the virus subsequently activates, sometimes causing severe damage to computer systems or files.
Cyber terrorism occurs when terrorists cause virtual destruction in online computer systems.
E-fraud is the use of online techniques by a perpetrator to commit fraud. Popular forms of e-fraud include Email spoofing, phishing, and online credit card fraud.
Email spoof is use of email to trick an individual into providing personal information that is later used for unauthorized purposes.
E-theft occurs when a perpetrator hacks into a banking system and diverts funds to accounts accessible to the criminal. To prevent e-theft, most major banks severely limit what clients can do online.
Net espionage occurs when perpetrators hack into online systems or individual PCs to obtain confidential information for the purpose of selling it to other parties (criminals).
Offshore online Fraud
Offshore (foreign) online frauds are frauds perpetrated by persons in other countries.
Online Credit Card Fraud
Online credit card fraud is illegal online acquisition of a credit card number and use of it for unauthorized purposes such as fraudulent purchases.
Denial Of Service
Online denial of service is use of email barrages, computer viruses, or other techniques to damage or shut down online computer systems, resulting in loss of business.
Phishing occurs when the perpetrator sends fictitious emails to individuals with links to fraudulent websites that appear official and thereby cause the victim to release personal information to the perpetrator.
Software piracy is the theft of intellectual assets associated with computer programs.