Top Six Computer Crimes

The incidence of computer crimes seems to have accelerated in the recent years. There are a number of ways in which cybercrimes or computer fraud can be committed, and they include:

  • Identity Theft
  • Internet Fraud
  • Computer Intrusions
  • Piracy and Property Theft
  • Cyberstalking
  • Malware and Viruses

These common computer crimes can be carried out on a small scale or on a large scale, and they can cause extensive damage. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every computer / network owner to take steps to prevent becoming a victim to cyber crime. The above listed common computer crimes are explained below.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the most common computer crimes and it makes to the top of the list when it comes to cyber crime. You will be surprised to know that in America alone, almost 9 million people become victim of identity theft each year.

Identity theft occurs when someone gains illegal access to your personal information and uses it for their benefit. This personal information could be in the form of your online banking information or your social security number. Anyone who has access to your banking details, your account number and user name and password can pretend to be you and transfer a lot of your money to some other bank account. The same can happen with your credit card or Paypal details. So make sure you never use sensitive information like this from a public computer or a WiFi connection which you don’t trust.

Internet Fraud

Computer and internet fraud is the misrepresentation of a fact which causes loss to another individual or company. This fraud can be in the form of altering computer input, destroying, deleting or suppressing stored data or misusing existing system tools or software for fraudulent purposes. The different kinds of internet fraud include bank fraud, identity theft, theft of classified information and extortion.

Computer Intrusions

Individuals and small businesses are more vulnerable to crimes like cyber intrusion as they have fewer resources to prevent it from happening. Hacks and malicious codes are used to break into these home and office computers which can lead to loss of data and may even disrupt the proper functioning of the network, like in the case of a hospital or bank. Every year, thousands of dollars are spent on the repair of systems after they are hit by such attacks. Again, the best way to prevent something like this from happening is to keep your machines updated with the latest security patches and to educate your family or employees to avoid accessing suspicious websites or emails.

Piracy and Property Theft

Also known as intellectual property (IP) theft, this is defined as the theft of material which is copyrighted, such as trade secrets and trademark violations. These trade secrets may include theft of ideas, plans, methods, technologies or any other form of sensitive information. Any business, industry, bank or financial institution can become victim of intellectual property theft.

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is defined as an “attack” on a person in the form of harassment, humiliation, embarrassment or any other scary tactics. The “stalker” uses technology to locate the victims whereabouts with the intent to harm them. In most cases, the victims never discover the identity of the stalker, nor do they even realize that the harm done to them was intentional. To prevent something like this from happening, make sure you never make your whereabouts public, by using social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Malware and Viruses

Anybody who uses a computer and internet connection is vulnerable to malware and viruses. Malware refers to Trojan worms and viruses which are harmful and can cause the deletion or corruption of your files. To protect yourself against Trojans, you must have proper anti-malware protection. It does not necessarily have to be a paid antivirus, and you can install the latest version of any popular free antivirus program.

If you think that the internet is a safe place, you are wrong. You must take steps to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of cyber crime.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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