Friday, October 31, 2008

Introduction to Cyber Crime

Cyber Crimes are any illegal activities committed using computer. Target of the criminal activity can either be a computer, network or operations. In another sense, criminal activity can be against a person, an organization or a government. The increased dependence on IT and communication technology for dynamic and fast business solutions has its own side effect. The effect of digital information technologies upon our world certainly poses endless benefits for the citizens of our growing global village. The dark side of it, not surprisingly, is the misuse of Information Technology for criminal activities. Cyber Crimes are a new genus of crimes, which use computers and networks for criminal activities.
The difference between traditional crimes and cyber crimes is that cyber crimes can be transnational in nature, which limits the law enforcement agencies ability to catch the culprit and put them behind the bars. Anybody who is having a computer and Internet connection can inflict damage to a remote system or network and can remain anonymous. The anonymity on the net is a real problem faced by law enforcement agencies.

Another issue is the jurisdiction in cyber crimes. A crime in one country may not be treated as a crime in another country.

We can classify this type of crimes into three categories.

Crimes done on Internet – which is possible only because of the existence of Internet.
Crimes have done using Internet – which are traditional crimes, which can be easily done using the net.
Crimes done using computers – which are traditional crimes done using computers and its accessories.
Section 2(1)(i) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 defines a computer as any "electronic magnetic, optical or other high-speed data processing device or system which performs logical, arithmetic, and memory functions by manipulations of electronic, magnetic or optical impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer software, or communication facilities which are connected or related to the computer in a computer system or computer network".

Through this any illegal activity done using computer can be very well defined as a cyber crime.

Crimes done on net
Whenever you are connected to the net there is a possibility that you are being watched by somebody – be it your organization, law enforcement agencies or cyber criminals. The major types of crimes, which will affect organizations, are

Identity Theft / phishing
Denial of Service attacks
Virus / Worm Attacks
IPR Violations
Stealing Trade Secrets
Website Defacement
Cyber Vandalism / Cyber Terrorism
Cyber Terrorism is another concern by the security experts across the world. In past, Indian industry, government, and service sectors, which form the Critical Infrastructure in the country, were not fully connected on the network. But in very near future all will be connected. Protection of critical infrastructure will become one main area of concern.

Crimes done using net

These types of crimes existed in our society but were difficult to execute. For example, stalking was one of the oldest methods of intimidating somebody to destroy his/her peace of mind and draw the victim to the criminals intentions. But due to the proliferation of Internet, this became very easy to execute. Computers and Internet provided the criminals an easy way of doing old crimes.

Cyber Stalking
• Identity Theft
• Defamation
• Spamming
• Internet Fraud
• Extortion
• Trafficking
• Gambling
• Narcotics
• Pornography
• Distribution of pirated software

Crimes done using computers
These are also traditional crimes, execution of which was made very easy by computers.
Forging an official document is now very easy to the extend that if you get an original you can create forged documents which looks like original one by scanning and editing.

· Document Forgery
o Official Documents
o Certificates
o Stamp Paper
o Counterfeit Currency / stamps
· Morphing Images
· Software Theft