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Types of Cybercrime

Helping parents understand the dangers that exist online.

Cyber-Crime ('computer crime') is any illegal behaviour directed by means of electronic operations that targets the security of computer systems and the data processed by them. In a wider sense, 'computer - related crime' can be any illegal behavior committed by means of, or in relation to, a computer system or network, however, this is not cyber-crime.

The United Nations has categorized five offenses as cyber-crime: unauthorized access, damage to computer data or programs, sabotage to hinder the functioning of a computer system or network, unauthorized interception of data to, from and within a system or network, and computer espionage.

The categories of cyber-crime are:

Financial - crimes which disrupt businesses' ability to conduct 'e-commerce' (or electronic commerce).

Piracy - the act of copying copyrighted material. The personal computer and the Internet both offer new mediums for committing an 'old' crime. Online theft is defined as any type of 'piracy' that involves the use of the Internet to market or distribute creative works protected by copyright.

Hacking - the act of gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or network and in some cases making unauthorized use of this access. Hacking is also the act by which other forms of cyber-crime (e.g., fraud, terrorism, etc.) are committed.

Cyber-terrorism - the effect of acts of hacking designed to cause terror. Like conventional terrorism, `e-terrorism' is classified as such if the result of hacking is to cause violence against persons or property, or at least cause enough harm to generate fear.

Online Pornography - There are laws against possessing or distributing child pornography. Distributing pornography of any form to a minor is illegal. The Internet is merely a new medium for this `old' crime, but how best to regulate this global medium of communication across international boundaries and age groups has sparked a great deal of controversy and debate.

In Schools - While the Internet can be a unique educational and recreational resource for children, it is important that they are educated about how to safely and responsibly use this powerful tool. The founding goal of B4USurf is to encourage empowering children through knowledge of the law, their rights, and how best to prevent misuse of the Internet.

TYPES OF CYBERCRIME

Financial


Public confidence in the security of information processed and stored on computer networks and a predictable environment of strong deterrence for computer crime is critical to the development of 'e-commerce' (or electronic commerce) , or commercial transactions online. Companies' ability to participate in e-commerce depends heavily on their ability to minimize e-risk.

Risks in the world of electronic transactions online include viruses, cyber attacks (or distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks) such as those which were able to bring Yahoo, eBay and other websites to a halt in February 2000, and e-forgery.

There also have been other highly publicized problems of 'e-fraud' and theft of proprietary information in some cases even for ransom ('e-extortion').

Piracy


The software industry plays a leading role in creating products that have vastly improved our lives and work environment. Unfortunately, software theft, or piracy, has had a negative impact on the global marketplace and the ability to create new products. Copying in the workplace, counterfeiting and various forms of illegal distribution cost the Asia Pacific region almost US$21 billion in 2011 (Ninth Annual BSA Global Software Piracy Study). This study covers all packaged software that runs on personal computers, including desktops, laptops, and ultra-portables, including operating systems, systems software such as databases and security packages, business applications, and consumer applications such as PC games, personal finance, and reference software. The study does not include other types of software such as that which runs on servers or mainframes or software sold as a service.).

Furthermore, the unauthorized electronic distribution and sale of copyrighted works over the Internet threatens to make these problems seem almost quaint by comparison. Legal and cultural frameworks to protect creative works online, including computer software, must be identified and built to encourage creativity and growth.

Hacking


Modern-day graffiti has moved beyond scribbles on monuments and subway cars and now takes the form of defacing websites. This may be done for personal notoriety, the challenge, or a political message just as with traditional defacement of property, but this new form of exploit is no joking matter. In addition to the obvious economic threats of hacking there is also real physical danger which can be caused by hacking into computer networks.

Cyber-Terrorism


Cyber-terrorism is distinguished from other acts of commercial crime or incidents of hacking by its severity. Attacks against computer networks or the information stored therein which result in "violence against persons or property, or at least cause enough harm to generate fear" are to be considered cyber-terrorism attacks according to congressional testimony from Georgetown University professor Dorothy Denning. "Attacks that disrupt nonessential services or that are mainly a costly nuisance" are not classified as cyber-terrorist attacks by her definition.

Pornography


Children's exposure to pornography while online has become a political topic with various family-oriented groups seeking to prevent children's access to such sites.

In Schools


While the Internet can be a unique educational and recreational resource for children, it is important that they are educated about how to safely and responsibly use this powerful tool.

Several issues have received particular attention with respect to protecting children online. Parents should be aware of cyberstalking and the threats that online predators pose to children's physical safety; harmful or inappropriate content (most often characterized as pornographic, excessively violent or simply 'adult'); privacy invasions that result from the collection of personally identifiable information about individual children; and commercialism and aggressive marketing targeted directly at children.

Another issue related to the presence of children on the Internet is the potential misuse of this tool. Whether the consequences are intentional or unintentional, the Internet can open a dangerous window of accessibility for children who are unaware of the consequences of irresponsible use.

For this reason, it is essential that parents consider how to educate children about the consequences associated with misusing the Internet.