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Essay/Term paper: Computer crimes

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Information Technology

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Computer Crimes


It's the weekend, you have nothing to do so you decide to play around on
your computer. You turn it on and then start up, you start calling people with
your modem, connecting to another world, with people just like you at a button
press away. This is all fine but what happens when you start getting into other
peoples computer files. Then it becomes a crime, but what is a computer crime
really, obviously it involves the use of a computer but what are these crimes.
Well they are: Hacking, Phreaking, & Software Piracy.

To begin I will start with Hacking, what is hacking. Hacking is basically
using your computer to "Hack" your way into another. They use programs called
scanners which randomly dials numbers any generating tones or carriers are
recorded. These numbers are looked at by hackers and then used again, when the
hacker calls up the number and gets on he's presented with a logon prompt, this
is where the hacking really begins, the hacker tries to bypass this anyway he
knows how to and tries to gain access to the system. Why do they do it, well
lets go to a book and see "Avid young computer hackers in their preteens and
teens are frequently involved in computer crimes that take the form of
trespassing, invasion of privacy, or vandalism. Quite often they are mearly out
for a fun and games evening, and they get entangled in the illegal use of their
machines without realizing the full import of what they are doing", I have a
hard time believing that so lets see what a "hacker" has to say about what he
does "Just as they were enthraled with their pursuit of information, so are we.
The thrill of the hack is not in breaking the law, it's in the pursuit and
capture of knowledge.", as you can see the "hacker" doesn't go out to do destroy
things although some do. It's in the pursuit of knowledge. Of course this is
still against the law. But where did all of this start, MIT is where hacking
started the people there would learn and explore computer systems all around the
world. In the views of professional hacking is like drugs or any other addictive
substance, it's an addiction for the mind and once started it's difficult to
stop. This could be true, as hackers know what they are doing is wrong and they
know odds are they will be caught. But as I mentioned some hackers are just
above average criminals, using there skills to break in banks and other places
where they can get money, or where they can destroy information. What a hacker
does at a bank is take a few cents or even a few fractions of a cents from many
different accounts this may seem like nothing but when all compiled can be alot.
A stick up robber averages about $8,000 each "job", and he has to put his life
and personal freedom on the line to do it while the computer hacker in the
comfort of his own living room averages $500,000 a "job". As for people
destroying information, this is for taking some one down, destruction of data
could end a business which for some is very attractive. It can cost a company
thousands of dollars to restore the damage done.

Now that you have an understanding of what a "hacker" is, it time to move
on to someone closely associates with a hacker. This is a Phreak, but what is
that. For the answer we turn to the what is known as the "Official" Phreakers
Manual "Phreak [fr'eek] 1. The action of using mischievous and mostly illegal
ways in order to not pay for some sort of telecommunications bill, order,
transfer, or other service. It often involves usage of highly illegal boxes and
machines in order to defeat the security that is set up to avoid this sort of
happening. [fr'eaking] v. 2. A person who uses the above methods of destruction
and chaos in order to make a better life for all. A true phreaker will not go
against his fellows or narc on people who have ragged on him or do anything
termed to be dishonourable to phreaks. [fr'eek] n. 3. A certain code or dialup
useful in the action of being a phreak. (Example: "I hacked a new metro phreak
last night.")" The latter 2 ideas of what a phreak is, is rather weird. A
Phreak like the hacker likes to explore and experiment, however his choice of
exploring is not other computer but the phone system as a whole. Phreaks explore
the phone system finding many different ways to do things, most often make free
calls. Why do they do this, " A hacker and phreaker will have need to use
telephone systems much more than an average individual, therefore, methods which
can be used to avoid toll charges are in order. ". A phreak has two basic ways
of making free calls, he can call up codes or PBXs on his phone and then enter a
code and make his call or he can use Electronic Toll Fraud Devices. Codes are
rather easy to get the phreak will scan for them, but unlike a hacker will only
save the tone(s) number instead of the carrier(s). Then he will attempt to hack
the code to use it, these codes range from numbers 0 - 9 and can be any length,
although most are not more than 10. Electronic Toll Fraud Devices are known as
Boxes in the underground. Most are the size of a pack of smokes, or than can be
smaller or bigger. I will not go too deep. They are electronic devices than do
various things, such as make outgoing calls free, make incoming calls free,
simulate coins dropping in a phone, etc. People who "Phreak" are caught alot
these days thanks to the new technology.

Software Piracy is the most common computer crime, it is the illegal coping
of software. "People wouldn't think of shoplifting software from a retail store,
but don't think twice about going home and making several illegal copies of the
same software." and this is true because I myself am guilty of this. The major
problem is not people going out and buying the software then making copies for
everyone, it's the Bulletin Boards that cater to pirating software, that really
cause the problem. On anyone one of these boards one can find an upwards of 300
- 1000+ of pirated software open for anyone to take. This is a problem and
nothing can really be done about it. Few arrests are made in this area of
computer crime.

I will now devote a brief section to the above mentioned BBS' , most are
legal and do nothing wrong. However there are many more that do accept pirated
software, pornographic pictures, animations , and texts. As well as a trading
area for phone codes, other BBS', Credit Card numbers, etc. This is where a
majority of Hackers and Phreaks come, as well as those who continue to pirate
software come to meet and share stories. In this is a new world, where you can
do anything, there are groups that get, crack, and courier software all over the
world some of them are called: INC: International Network Of Crackers, THG: The
Humble Guys, TDT: The Dream Team. As well a number of other groups have
followed suit such as Phalcon/SKISM (Smart Kids Into Sick Methods), NuKE, and
YAM (Youngsters Against McAfee) these are virus groups who write and courier
their work anywhere they can, they just send it somewhere, where anyone can take
it and use it in any manner they wish, such as getting even with someone. All of
these activities are illegal but nothing can be done, the people running these
boards know what they are doing. As it stands right now, the BBS world is in
two parts Pirating and the Underground, which consists of
Hackers/Phreaks/Anarchists/Carders(Credit Card Fraud)/Virus programmers. All
have different boards and offer a variety of information on virtually any
subject.

Well from all of this reading you just did you should have a fairly good
idea of what computer crime is. I didn't mention it in the sections but the
police, phone companies are arresting and stopping alot of things every day.
With the new technology today it is easier to catch these criminals then it was
before. With the exception of the BBS' the police have made some major blows
busting a few BBS', arresting hackers and phreaks. All of which were very looked
up to for knowledge in their areas of specialty. If I had more time I could go
into these arrests but I must finish by saying that these are real crimes and
the sentences are getting harsher, with alot of the older people getting out the
newer people are getting arrested and being made examples of. This will deter
alot of would-be computer criminal away.


 

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