Criminology Essays - Technology Crime Computers

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Technology Crime Computers


The variety of technology-based crime is always growing, both as a result of technological alteration and in terms of societal interactions with new technologies. Technology helps in solving our various problems that were impossible in the past. At the same time technology provides the easy ways and facilities to criminals. In this paper we will discuss crimes with respect to technology. We will see different examples. We will start our discussion with an introduction and will go in further detail.

Generally talking, such crimes can be classified (Smith, Grabosky & Urbas 2004) in keeping with whether they are:

  • Aimed at computers and connected technologies such as computer interruptions (e.g. hacking and illegal access), denial of service (DoS) attacks, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks using botnets, denial of resource, the creation and circulation of viruses, worms and Trojans, and sabotage
  • By the use of computers and related technologies for example online child exploitation, cyber stalking, extortion, fraud and identity theft.
  • With additional uses of computers and allied technologies such as internet markets for illegal goods and services, achievement of high tech crime tools (HTCB no. 11 and no. 12), illegal uses of encryption or steganography to hide the tricks and the proofs.

Areas of technology based crime

Following are the major crimes that are evolved by the advances in the technology:

Cyber stalking

Cyber stalking is a crime in which the aggressor threats a user of internet using electronic sources, such as e-mail or instant messaging, or messages commented to a Web site or a group. A cyber stalker depends upon the secrecy given by the Internet to permit them to track their prey without being noticed.

Cyber stalking e-mails vary from usual spam in that a cyber stalker aims at specific victim with often bullying e-mails, while the spammer aims at a huge number of receivers with simply irritating messages. WHOA (Working to Halt Online Abuse), is an online association which is devoted to the cyberstalking problem, stated that in 2001 58% of cyberstalkers were male and 32% of them were female. And because of rapid advances in technology this rate has reached to a very high peak.

Cyberstalking is among the growing number of new computer and Internet-related crimes, sometimes known as cybercrime.


Phishing is an e-mail deception technique in which the executor sends out legal looking email in an effort to collect personal and financial information from receivers. Naturally, the mail appears to come from renowned and honorable Web sites. Web sites that are often spoofed by phishers include URLs of such as Pay Pal, eBay, MSN, Yahoo, and America Online. A phishing mission, like the fishing mission it's named for, is a rough scheme: the phisher puts the attract hoping to track in any case a small number of the victims that come across the bait.

Phishers use a number of diverse common engineering and e-mail spoofing tricks to try to track their preys. As an example, which is also a real case, a 17-year-old male threw out mails claiming to be from America Online that assumed there had been a billing problem with recipients' AOL accounts. The plan executor’s e-mail used AOL logos and included rightful links. If users clicked on the "AOL Billing Center" link, but, they were taken to a spoofed AOL Web page that asked for private information, containing credit card numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs), social security numbers, and passwords. This information was utilized for identity theft.

Denial of Service Attacks (DoS)

The rapidly increasing use of internet has also caused the execution of denial of service attacks. A denial of service (DoS) attack takes place when an Internet server is busy with a nearly nonstop flow of false requests for web pages, thus denying rightful users a chance to download a page and also probably booming the web server. Criminals have made a simple method for performing a distributed DoS attack:

  • The criminal first puts automatic programs on a large number of computers that have broadband entrance to the Internet. The remote-control program, at the order of the criminal, will distribute a nonstop series of pings to a particular user’s website.
  • When the criminal is about to attack, he trains the programs to start pinging a particular aimed address. The computers containing the remote-control programs act as "zombies".
  • In general, after one or two hours, the criminal trains his programs to end pinging the prey. This concise period is not because the criminal is a good human being, but because long-period attack makes it easier for engineers at the prey’s website to quickly map out the cause of the attacks.

Salami Attacks

The use of internet has offered users with the facility of electronic banking and this thing also have caused the execution of a criminal activity called “salami attacks”.

The most classic criminal act represented by a salami attack is, which occupies a computerized alteration to financial systems and their data. For example, the numerals representing currency on a bank's computers could be changed so that values to the right of the decimal point are always rounded down.

Because all this rounding down creates surplus fractions of cents, they must be moved somewhere else, and, cautiously, so that no net loss to the system of financial records becomes clear. This is executed by just reorganizing the money into a balance possessed by the executor. The final prizes could be very attractive, provided the modification in accounts have been done at frequent intervals all through over complete period of time and such type of modification has done on a large number of accounts.

Methodologies to investigate technology based crimes

Many law enforcement agencies describe technology based crime very narrowly and imagine about it only in terms of complicated, computer-specific matters like hacking or crimes that necessitate a forensic computer inspection. This is a incurable mistake in two respects. First, it over generalize what are actually very complex crimes, and secondly it increases the exploratory difficulty of comparatively simply crimes.

On a national level, law enforcement must be familiar with that; many types of simple theft and fraud are in actual fact technology based crime if a computer is used to execute the crime. What may come into view to be a simple theft of small proportions and may even go unnoticed in many cases, which may in fact be a major crime with a massive loss.

Actually, computer robbers are familiar with the almost countless number of sufferers accessible to them on an international scale less ability to detect these crimes have made these robbers more confident in committing these crimes. Following is the methodology to investigate technology based crime:

Identifying suspects

One of the first steps that investigators have to take when investigating the technology based crime is identifying suspects. Sometimes, this can show the way to significant troubles when the incorrect person is under arrest. In technology related crime, recognition problems are even bigger. Digital technologies allow people to cover their identity in a broad range of methods making it hard to know for sure, who were using the workstation from which an illegal activity was performed.

This difficulty is more common in business settings where many users may have right of entry to a terminal and where passwords are recognized or shared, than in personal homes where incidental evidence can often be used to decide who was using the workstation at a given time.

Online technologies make it comparatively easy to cover up one’s true identity, to make one’s false identity, or to use other’s identity. E.g. ‘remailing’ services can be utilized to hide one’s identity when sending email. This is done by banding messages of identifying information and allocating a nameless identifier, or encrypting messages for additional secrecy.

For example, In March 2003, the FBI was examining the case of a 72-year-old man in the United States in link with a suspected telemarketing crime involving a hell of dollars. Since 1989, this man had supposedly been making use of the identity of a 72-year-old retired businessman from Bristol in the U K.

The British man, whom identity was being theft had in no way met the suspected cheat, and had no connection with any of his suspected crimes, The FBI issued a warrant for the arrest of the criminal for the retired English businessman who was then arrested by South African Police in Durban on 6 February 2003, while on holiday.

The police depended on the information that the warrant was in his name, he was the accurate age, looked alike, and had the identical passport number. He was under arrest in protection of police headquarters in Durban, but was free on 26 February 2003 following the arrest of the real criminal in Las Vegas (BBC news 2003).

Choosing an appropriate jurisdiction

The next step, which should be taken while investigating technology based crime, is deciding the jurisdiction in which actions should be taken. Where crimes are executed in different countries, or where the criminal and sufferer are positioned in diverse places, issues take place as to which court should cope with the issue. If matter is preceded in the country in which the criminal lives, then difficulties of transportation will be avoided.

But if the matter proceeds from the country in which the sufferer is placed, or where the result of the crime come about, then the criminal or suspected person may need to be transported to that country. Significantly, it will frequently be the case that only some of the necessary elements of the crime occur within one jurisdiction, making examination almost impractical.

What should be done to cope with these circumstances is the formation of an international instrument along the lines of the United Nations protocol on discussing jurisdiction, deciding how jurisdiction is best concluded in these cases. In general, the law is that if a country rejects to transfer a criminal and it has authority to take action, then it should be indebted to do so.

For example there are certain laws in United Stated that are enforced when some technology based crime occurs:

  • 18 USC § 2701, keeping out access to communications stored on a computer.
  • 47 USC § 223, keeping out interstate harassing telephone calls.
  • 15 USC § 1644, prohibiting deceptive use of credit cards
  • 18 USC § 1029, eliminating fake attainment of telecommunications services
  • 18 USC § 1030, prohibiting illegal access to any computer operated by the U.S. Government, financial organization under the U.S. Government.
  • 18 USC § 1343, stopping wire deception
  • 18 USC § 1361-2, banning malicious crime prohibit
  • 18 USC § 1831, banning theft of trade secrets.


  • Gerald L. Kovacich, William C. Boni (1999). High-technology-crime Investigator's Handbook.
  • William Schwabe, Lois M. Davis, Brian A. Jackson, Rand Corporation (2001). Challenges and Choices for Crime-fighting Technology: Federal Support.
  • Yvonne Jewkes (2006). Crime Online: Committing, Policing and Regulating Cybercrime.