Computer Crime FIRE, Chapter 7
Background • Why worry? • Crimes committed using the computer or Internet can be more costly (monetarily)than other crimes (e.g., a bank robber may get $2,500 to $5,000 on average; average loss from computer fraud is $100,000) • Crimes are larger and affect more people (a hacker breaking into an e-commerce database can steal hundreds or thousands of credit card numbers) • Crimes are harder to detect and trace (e.g., the anonymity of the Web) • Computing provides new challenges for prevention, detection, and prosecution; challenges that professionals will be asked to meet.
Hacking • 1960-1970 • Originally, a “hacker” was a creative programmer who wrote elegant or creative code. • Sometimes these folks would break into the computer systems at their schools to experiment and have fun; remember that until the PC and the Internet, computing resources were quite restricted. • 1970-1995 • The meaning of hacker began to change. There were incidents of “trophy hacking” (doing it just to show you could do it). • There were also crimes, such as thefts of information and “phone hacking” • The case of Kevin Mitnick; a notorious hacker who was arrested in 1988 and finally tracked down and arrested again in 1995. He caused several million dollars of damage.
Hacking • After 1995--the Web era • Current hacking includes all previous pranks and crimes, but now we have the intricate interconnectnedness of the Web. • Every networked computer is potentially vulnerable. This includes basic infrastructure (water, power, banks, hospitals, transportation, government agencies, telephone companies, etc.). • Now we have viruses transmitted via email that spread in a similar fashion to real diseases (but much faster); there often have to be quarantine procedures. • -The “Love Bug” from 2000 cost an estimated $10 billion in damage. • -Defacto standard systems (e.g., Microsoft Windows and Outlook) are especially vulnerable; other systems (e.g., Mac OS) are less so; but all are vulnerable.
Computer Viruses • More than 81,000 virus-type threats exist today. • This is even more complicated because there are lots of virus hoaxes, which may be in the form of dire email warnings about disk-eating (or computer destroying!) attachments that may land in your inbox. • See www.sophos.com/virusinfo/ or www.ciac.org/ciac/ciac_virus_info.html
Types of Viruses • Malicious worms (e.g., the Love Bug) that propogate via email and destroy the contents of computers. • Denial-of-service attacks; more recently there are distributed DNS attacks. • “Back-door” worms that exploit vulnerabilities to enter surrepticiously and copy private information.
Internet Hoaxes • Check http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/