The use of computers within the business and government sector has said to have rapidly increased over the last fifteen years; this therefore provides a whole new prospect for a distinctive criminal to prosper, and in most cases, to go utterly undiscovered. It has been anticipated that, unless this particular problem is tackled head on, losses from the computer crime may eventually reach $50 billion per year. One expert in the field has estimated that, under present law the chances of a computer criminal being convicted are 1 in 500, and of going to jail as 1 in 1000.
The possibility of corporations or banks going bankrupt as a result of computer theft is very real. W. John Taggart, Computer Law in Australia. There are many forms of computer abuse, yet they have come to many solutions. Many penalties if the criminals get caught and yet there are many weaknesses in computer law. With the expeditions rate of advances in technology, coping with those classified as computer criminals who are always one step ahead, is virtually impossible. They may patch up faults in previous systems, however do not recognise faults in latest systems until its too late.
Computer crime involves the unauthorised and unlawful use of a computer. Given growth of technology in our society, the incidence of computer rime is a matter of considerable concern for our law-makers. The cost of computer crime in the United States has been estimated to be at least $5000 million a year. (Cudmor, Greg Computer Law, page 8). Who would be classified as a computer criminal? It is said that often the computer criminal is a trusted employee and the problem for organisations seems to be internal security.
The community considers computer crime, as being less serious than other crimes against property, such as burglary or car theft, as it is not violent or public. In many instances computer crime is not always reported, due to the complexity of information systems. It is sometimes possible for offences to be concealed and often victims are unaware that an offence has even been committed. A reason for computer crime not being reported is when the crime is discovered companies defrauded of tremendous sums of money are sometimes ashamed to report a breach of security.
Another reason is that the offender is sometimes and employee of the company and if the harm is not significant the company may discipline or dismiss the offender. In this instance the offender may not have intended to steal money but rather punish the company because of perceived injustice. Computer crime appears in a number of forms; malicious damage, unlawful trespass and use (theft of computer time), theft of information, unauthorised alteration of information, fraud by computer manipulation and pirating computer software, hacking and creating viruses to destroy information systems and hard drives.
People are merely coping with the rate of technology, let alone the rate of computer criminology. There are various methods used to help ensure that a database is secure such as; the assignment of passwords to users, the use of voice recognition, Id cards, the granting and revoking of authority for individuals to have access to various parts or views of a database, the encryption and decryption of particularly sensitive data, the monitoring of database transactions through audits, strictly adhered-to back up procedures in case of accidental destruction of files.
However abusers crack passwords, steal and ID card, as said before a trusted employee or even the employer. If the criminal gets caught there are various penalties for various offences. According to the author Greg Cudmor, unauthorised access which carries a penalty of six months imprisonment. If a person uses a telephone and modem to break into a computer system they will be liable for prosecution under this offence.
If a person accessed, with knowledge, a system whether it be national, personal or commercial information which is data sensitive or the hacker has the intention to defraud, which carries a penalty of two years imprisonment. If the hacker is aware that the computer system they are cracking contains sensitive personal or commercial data,the penalty is greater. However this book was published in 1994. Today computer crime is treated with more consideration, as over three quarters of the business in the world rely on computers and many rely on computer to keep their business running.
If a person commits the offence of computer fraud when he knowingly accesses or causes to be accessed a computer or any part thereof, or a program or data, for the purpose of devising or executing any scheme, artifice to defraud, or as part of a deception, will be guilty of a Class 4 felony. If one obtains use of, damages, or destroys a computer or any part thereof, or alters, deletes, or removes any program or data contained therein, in connection with any scheme, artifice to defraud, or as part of a deception, will be guilty of Class 3 felony.
If one accesses or causes to be accessed a computer or any part thereof, or a program or data, an obtains money or control over any such money, property, or services of another in connection with any scheme, artifice to defraud, or as part of a deception, will guilty of a Class 4 felony if the value of the money, property or services in $1 000 or less; or be guilty of a Class 3 felony if the value is more than $1000 but less than $50 000; or guilty of Class 2 felony if the value is $50 000 or more.