The Computer

Computer Crime
The technological revolution has taken full swing . If a business doesn’t have some form of e-commerce, or if a person does not have some form of an e-mail address, they are seen as living in the stone age. This new world of virtual life, where with the click of a button a person can travel millions of miles in a few seconds, millions of new opportunities have arisen. However, someone has to always ruin the good things in life. Very similar to Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” where the second thing built in a Utopia was a prison, the advent of computer crime is only becoming more prevelant everyday. The whole idea of a computer crime is rather absurd indeed. Really, who wants to go around spray painting on computers anyway? Though the definition of computer crime varies from source to source, the most common being,” any illegal act which oinvolves a computer system” ( “What is a computer…” p.1). This holds true even if the computer contains something as simple as a threatening e-mail. Computer crime in nature ranges from relatively small things such as software piracy to magnificent crimes like fraud.
Computer crime itself has metamorphasized from its mere infancy. In the late 1970’s, a would-be criminal would need direct access to the actual computer terminal. This is because the most computer crime of that time actually involved hardware sabotage and theft, rather than a more software oriented problem. In the late 1970s and early to mid 1980s, computer crime had elevated a notch with the advent of the inter-schiool network. This network was a connection of several major universities through modem lines. Educated computer users were now changing each others ideas and information, but not for the malicious, but instead for the better. The mid to late 1980s saw the rise of computer “hackers” such as Kevin Mitnick. kevin Mitnick was caught at least a half dozen times, with the charges ranging from criminal tresspassing to fraud. Mitnick had broken into several corporations’ servers,n one being the well reknowned Sun Microsystems. When he was arrested Mitnick became a martyr and a heron to many teenage computer enthusiasts. These teens would be determined to carry on the symbolic spirit, or what they thought to be, of Kevin Mitnick. However, the computer crimes that thses users perpatrate cost small businesses and corporations millions each year, put restraints on legitimate computer users and still remain an extremely dangerous, costly and virtually unstoppable crime. (“A Brief History of…” p.2)
Information technologies (IT) specialists walk into work almost every morning only to find one of their servers on the fritz. Now, these problems can arise for several different reasons, ranging from security breeches to mere software conflicts. However, businesses report losses ranging from $5 to $40 billion each year. The causes for these losses range from having to hire new IT and IS (information systems) specialists to fix a problem, to theft of product and software piracy. Software piracy is by far the largest problem. (“Latest Web Statistics” p.2)
An IT specialist’s worst nightmare is a renegade “hacker” loose in the system. “Hacker” is a slang name given to a person who has knowledge enough to compromise the security of a system. Although less than 11% of all complaints filed in 1998 were of hacking, the extreme danger of a hacker still remains. Hackers possess the powers to compromise valuable system security features and possibly destroy or alter any data that they have access to. In the year 2000, a projected 773 complaints will be filed in which at least 10% will be of hacking (“Latest Web Statistics” p.1). However, a hacker may only affect a company with internet access, unless of course, they work for the company.
Corporate employees would be the least expected people that would harm an employer’s network or systems. The truth behind this is, that in fact most security breeches that occur, happen because of curious enmployees “just looking around.”
Many of these employees do not cause any real harm to anything at all. It just seems that curiosity gets the best of them and they just have to look. However, there are cases where a


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