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We begin with the basics. A computer includes any electronic communications device such as phones, online games, laptops and desktop computers. The internet is a massive worldwide communications network linking smaller computer networks. There are computer networks that are not connected to the internet.
Cybercrime is a crime where a computer or computer network:
is a necessary tool to complete the crime;
or, is the target of the crime.
When the computer network is a necessary tool to complete the crime some uses include:
finding victims online (fraud, predators, any malicious or deceiving intent towards a person)
email, text messaging, and communication with accomplices.
When the computer or network is the target of the crime the use can include the delivery and distribution of computer infectors and attacks on network servers where the intent can be to limit, disable or destroy the computer network.
Computers and the internet are tools. And tools can be used for good or bad purposes depending on the intent of the user. Each person who uses a tool, whether the tool is silverware, a hammer, or a computer, needs to know for what purpose the tool is used and how to use the tool properly and safely. Other than the two conditions above, a cybercrime is not different than a crime in the everyday world even though the tools used to complete or attempt the crime are different. Law enforcement is becoming increasingly aware of cybercrime, how to enforce existing laws that relate to cybercrime, and recognizing the need for cybercrime prevention. But, people must depend on themselves for cybercrime prevention and protection as each of us does with everyday situations to prevent crime and be able to contact law enforcement when needed. Cybercriminals operate around the world. What may be against the law in one location may not be against the law in another location.
Except for the way the crime was formulated, is there really a difference in effect between a child being abused by a predator who lured them to the face-to-face meeting from a park or from a chatroom? Is there really a difference in effect if someone stole your identity because you lost your credit card at a mall, you were the victim of a phishing scam and provided your information, or someone hacked into the server of a store online? Is there really a difference in effect if you received a postal letter or email telling you that the item you just bought is available for much less cost if you will only send monies somewhere?
Online activities are just as vulnerable to crime and can compromise personal safety as everyday activities. Lawmakers, law enforcement and individuals need to know how to protect themselves and the persons they are responsible for.
Cybercrime has three basic and inherent challenges:
locating the criminal
establishing jurisdiction, and
collecting the money.
TYPES OF CYBERCRIMES
You can see by the explanations of various cybercrimes below that other than the computer network being the target, the crimes have existed long before computers and the internet were made available to the general public.
Assault by Threat - threatening a person with fear for their lives or the lives of their families or persons they are responsible for their safety such as employees or communities through the use of a computer network such as email, videos, or phones.
Child Pornography - the use of computer networks to create, distribute, or access materials of sexually abused underage children.
Cyber Contraband - transferring illegal items through the internet such as encryption technology that is banned in some locations.
Cyberlaundering - electronic transfer of monies to hide illegally obtained monies.
Cyberstalking - express or implied physical threats that create fear through the use of computer networks such as email, phones, text messages, webcams, websites or videos.
Cyberterrorism - premeditated politically motivated violence committed against civilians through the use of or with the help of computer networks.
Cybertheft - using a computer network to steal. This includes: breaking and entering, DNS cache poisoning, embezzlement and unlawful appropriation, espionage, identity theft, fraud, malicious hacking, plagiarism, and piracy.
1. Advertising or Soliciting Prostitution through the internet. It is against the law to access prostitution through the internet (including Nevada) because the process of accessing the internet crosses state and sometimes national borders. This is a violation of the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act copyright.gov/legislation/dcma.pdf.
2. Drug Sales - both illegal and prescription drug sales through the internet are illegal except as a customer through a state licensed pharmacy based in the United States fda.gov.
3. Fraud is different from theft because the victim voluntarily and knowingly gives the money or property to the criminal but would not have if the criminal did not make a misrepresentation or false representation. Fraud is a lie. If someone leads you or allows you to believe something that is false to benefit them, they are lying and this is fraud when you voluntarily surrender monies or property based on their misrepresentation or lie. Losing money from computer crime can be especially devastating because often it is very difficult to get the money back.
altering data to get a benefit, examples:
removing arrest records from the police station server
changing grades on the school computer system
deleting speeding tickets from driving records.
4. Gambling through the internet is a violation of federal law because the internet requires electronic payment for gambling through the use of credit cards, debit cards, electronic fund transfers or checks which is illegal with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgibin/ getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:h4411eh.txt.p df.
Cybertresspass - someone accesses a computer's or network's resources without the authorization or permission of the owner but does not alter, disturb, misuse, or damage the data or system. This is hacking for the purpose of entering an electronic network without permission.
You are at a hotel using a wireless internet connection and accessing the hotel's private files just because they are available without disturbing them.
Snooping- reading email, files, or noting which programs are installed on the computer system just for fun because you can.
Cybervandalism - data or information is damaged or destroyed rather than stolen or misused as with cybertheft. Network services are disrupted or stopped. This deprives the computer/network owners and authorized users (website visitors, employees) of the network itself and the data or information contained in the network.
entering a network without permission and altering, destroying, or deleting data or files.
deliberately entering malicious code (viruses, Trojans) into a computer network to monitor, follow, disrupt, stop, or any other intention without the permission of the owner of the network.
attacking the server of the computer network (DDoS attack) so the server does not perform properly or the attack prevents legitimate website visitors from accessing the network resources with the proper permissions.
Chapter Two THE BASICS OF INTERNET SAFETY
Not everyone who drives a car understands how the car works. Fewer persons know how to maintain their car in good working condition. Many persons take their car to the mechanic for routine maintenance. Internet users do not need to understand how the internet works. But, like driving and maintaining a car, the internet user does need to know how to use the home computer and internet, how to maintain their home computer, and how to maintain their safety using the home computer and the internet.
This chapter will not teach you how to use your home computer or email, perform internet searches, or the mechanics of finding the software manufacturer's website and downloading security updates. This book will give the reader basic guidelines for maintaining personal safety and preventing cybercrime when the home computer is connected to the internet.
Four Basic Rules of Internet Safety:
1) If you do not use the hardware or software installed on your home computer, turn it off, close it, disable it or uninstall it.
2) Protect your personal, sensitive or confidential information stored on your home computer and any electronic devices from any unauthorized access as you do everyday with files, identification, and paper records.
3) Protect your children online as you do everyday.
4) Apply your everyday common sense with some basic understanding to the internet and your home computer. This may not be as simple as it appears.
Technology is constantly changing and improving. There are new tools with new research, trends and devices. With new tools there are new safety procedures. When in doubt, find out what the device is used for and how it is used. Consider if there is a way criminal mischief can utilize the device. The basics of internet safety, crime prevention and cybercrime prevention will not change. Adapt what you already know to new and emerging technologies.
When using the internet, use your common sense. If someone you do not know asked or told you the same thing in a grocery store, at work, in the library, in the park, at an auction, at the doctor's office, or any other place instead of in a chatroom, in email, at a website or online, how would you react? Protect and teach your children. Apply everyday smarts and crime prevention procedures to the use of the internet, especially with your children, information, money, and the people you meet. Computers and the internet are tools. Apply common sense about personal safety to tools and emerging technologies.
Display respect for yourself and others in public places, including the internet. If you received a private answer to your question or comments in a forum, chatroom, or newsgroup, have the courtesy to post the response you received. Try not to use obscene or confrontational language. Remember that the person you are emailing or sometimes texting can't see you or the expressions on your face. So, be careful with your words and the jokes or sarcasms you write. An angry response will most likely produce another angry response. Avoid flame wars by not responding repeatedly to an angry person corresponding with you. If you are in a discussion group, forum, or chatroom that is making you uncomfortable, leave and disconnect from the internet. Then, reconnect.
Use an extension cable between your computer and modem (dial-up, wireless, broadband or satellite) so you can easily connect and disconnect the cable without harming from constant use the sensitive connectors of your computer and modem. Any computer with a connection available to the internet is susceptible to intruders and infections although your chances drastically reduce when you use firewalls, encryption, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. One alternative is to shut off your computer when you are not using it. Another alternative is to disconnect the electricity from your computer when you are not using it. However, besides being impractical, constantly disconnecting and reconnecting the electricity reduces the life of your computer's internal battery.
Back-up your personal files regularly just in case your computer is stolen or crashes. Use an external drive or removable media. Just as you do not carry on your person everyday all your (or your family's) credit cards, social security cards, or safe deposit box keys, don't store any personal or sensitive information (including passwords and credit card/banking information) on your computer's hard drive. Store this information on removable media or drive so it is available when you need it. Remember to store a back-up copy in a safe place.
Use the most recent version of installed programs. The latest version of a program typically tries to fix known problems or security vulnerabilities with the previous version.
Download and install current security fixes, updates and patches for your operating system and all installed programs (not only the programs you use regularly). Be sure to download the updates from the software manufacturer's website. Downloads directly from an email link (immediately downloading without being directed to the manufacturer's website) are most likely infectors even if the email convincingly says otherwise. Vendors will send notices to opt-in subscribers through email when updates are available if they offer this service. The links in these emails go to the vendor's website. They are not direct links to the download.
Check and maintain safety devices - fire alarms, burglar alarms, smoke detectors, backup power supplies, anti-virus software updates, operating system and installed program security updates. Take the time to practice safety procedures - fire exits, contacting emergency personnel for possible safety compromising situations in your everyday life and with internet activities, examine emails and everyday situations for infectors, scams and fraud.
Secure your computer. You lock your doors and windows to your home and car when you are not there. Do the same with your computer and electronic devices. Don't allow your home, car or computer to be available to strangers, intruders or thieves. Use firewalls, lock features, updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Be sure that both incoming and outgoing firewall protection is active.
Try to maintain a separate home computer for confidential, business, and valuable information from children or persons who use file-sharing software or download "free" software regularly. You want to reduce the risk of infection and intrusion.
Keep the children's computer in the room that is most often occupied by family members with the monitor facing everyone. This helps to discourage "secret" conversations and friendships that child predators so desperately seek. This also helps adults to see where children are online, what they are doing and with whom they are communicating.
Spend time as a family talking about experiences in your daily and online lives - where you went, with whom, what you did. Protect your children online as you do everyday.
Don't post your personal information at websites, guestbooks, forums, social networking communities, family homepages with or without biographical information, newsgroups, chatroom profiles, text messaging profiles, or in email. Your personal information includes your legal name, last name, address, phone, marital status, occupation, financial/banking/credit/insurance card information, social security numbers, passwords, logon information and other usernames.
When entering financial, banking, or credit card information online while banking or shopping, be sure the website is where you want to be and the website is secure. Look for https in the webpage address or an icon of an unbroken key or lock that is closed, glowing or golden usually at the bottom of the browser window. You can double-click the lock to display the website's certificate. Be sure this certificate matches the website you believe you are visiting. If it does not, don't enter your information. Know that some reputable websites - including stores and banks - use third-party vendor websites for financial transactions online. Examples of these are Netteller jackhenry.com/products/banking/netteller/, PayPal paypal.com, and World Pay worldpay.com.
To be environmentally friendly as we are everyday through recycling and reducing everyday consumption of energy resources, each business and individual can contribute using resources available online. As a business, before purchasing new computers and monitors, check the EPEAT registry at epeat.net for energy consumption levels and other environmental indicators. This is similar to checking the energy usage for home appliances before buying. The EPEAT uses the IEEE 1680 standard, the first US standard of environmental guidelines, for desktops, laptops and monitors. As individuals before buying, check energy usage with the Energy Star 4.0 ratings at the Environmental Protection Agency epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/conserve/plugin. When you are recycling or discarding your old computers, visit the Ecycling Central website eiae.org by the Electronic Industries Alliance. Remember to either use a product such as cyberCide[R] cyberscrub.com so your personal information is not found somewhere on your hard drive in case your computer isn't immediately destroyed or remove the hard drive and physically hammer or pound it so the hard drive is irreversibly unusable.
Excerpted from THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO INTERNET SAFETY by Victoria Roddel Copyright © 2008 by Victoria Roddel. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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