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Nature and dangers of Cyber Crime


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The web has so many beneficial services, yet there a countless criminal activities which happen over the net everyday.  Any criminal activity that uses a computer either as an instrument, target or a means for perpetuating further crimes comes within the ambit of “cyber crime”. 

I consider this very important to share with you comprehensively the subject of cyber crime focusing on African. Let me say, that cyber crimes is global, it has no bound. My focus on Africa is only get in touch with people and throw a light of this subject.

Cyber Protection image by Pixabey.com
Cyber crime is generalized defined as unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or target or both. The computer may be used as a tool in the various kinds of activities: financial crimes, sale of illegal articles, pornography, online gambling, intellectual property crime, e-mail spoofing, forgery, cyber defamation and cyber stalking. 
The computer may, however, be target for unlawful acts in the various cases: Unauthorized access to computer, computer system, computer networks, theft of information contained in the electronic form, e-mail bombing, data diddling, salami attacks, logic bombs, Trojan attacks, Internet time thefts, Web jacking, theft of computer system and physically damaging the computer system. 

Reasons for Cyber Crime 

1. Capacity to store data in comparatively small space: The computer has a unique characteristic of storing data in a very small space. This makes removing or deriving information either through physical or virtual medium much more easier. 
2. Easy to access: The problem encountered in guarding a computer system from unauthorized access is that there is every possibility of breach not due to human error but due to the complex technology. By secretly implanted logic bomb, key loggers that can steal access codes, advanced voice recorders; retina images, etc., that can fool biometric systems and bypass fire-walls that can be utilized to get past many a security system.  
3. Complex-Computers work on operating systems and these operating systems in tum are composed of millions of codes. The human mind is fallible and it is not possible that there might not be a lapse at any stage. Cyber criminals take advantage of these weakness and penetrate into the computer system. 
4. Negligence: Negligence is very closely connected with human conduct. In  protecting the computer system we sometime become negligent, which in turn provides room for  cyber criminals to gain access and control over the computer system. 
5. Loss of evidence: Loss of evidence is a very common and obvious problem as all the data are routinely destroyed. Further collection of data outside the territorial extent also paralyses this system of crime investigation. 

Activities of Cyber Crime

1. Unauthorized access to computer systems or networks/hacking: Though hacking as a word has so many meaning in term of I.T. ideology. We will possible talk more of hacking later. This point is to bring out the unauthorized access to a system or network. We are use to think that hacking as crime, deals with some complex technology. Basically, so many people around you can daily invade your network or system (laptops, mobile phones, etc.). What we’re saying is that, once somebody is able to use your protected device or network like facebook social media account for any activity without your aprroval, we say a crime has being committed. 
2. Theft of information contained in electronic form.  This includes information stored in computer hard disks, removable storage media, etc. Theft may be either by appropriating the data physically or by tampering them through the virtual medium.
3. E-mail bombing: This kind of activity refers to sending large numbers of mail to the victim, which may be an individual or a company or even mail servers, thereby ultimately resulting into crashing. 
4. Logic bombs: These are event dependent pro- grams. It implies that these programs are created to do something only when a certain event (known as a trigger event) occurs, e.g., even some viruses may be termed logic bombs because they lie dormant all through the year and become active only on a particular date. 
5. Trojan attacks: This term has its origin in the word ‘Trojan horse’. In software field, this means an unauthorized program that passively gains control over another’s system by representing itself as an authorized program. The most common form of installing a Trojan is through e-mail. 
6. Salami attacks: This kind of crime is normally prevalent in financial institutions or for the purpose of committing financial crimes. An important feature of this type of offence is that the alteration is so small that it would normally go  unnoticed. For example, the Ziegler case wherein a logic bomb was introduced in the bank’s system, which deducted 10 cents from every account and deposited in a particular account. 
7. Data diddling: This kind of attack involves altering raw data just before a computer processes it and then changing it back after the processing is completed. 
 8. Denial of service attack:The victim’s computer is flooded with more requests than it can handle which causes it to crash. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is also a type of denial of service attack in which the offenders are wide in number and widespread, e.g., Amazon and Yahoo. 
9. Virus/worm attacks: Viruses are programs that attach themselves to a computer or a file and then circulate themselves to other files and to other computers on a network. They usually affect the data on a computer, either by altering or deleting it. Worms, unlike viruses, do not need the host to attach themselves to. They merely make functional copies of themselves and do this repeatedly till they eat up all the available space on a computer’s memory. 
10. Internet time thefts: Normally, in these kinds of thefts, the Internet surfing hours of the victim are used up by another person. This is done by gaining access to the login ID and the password. 
11. Web jacking: This term is derived from the term hijacking. In these kinds of offences, the hacker gains access and control over the Website of another. He may even mutilate or change the information on the site. This may be done for fulfilling political objectives or for money.  
How to prevent cyber crime

Prevention they say is better that cure. I believe you can’t do better if don’t want the best. It is always better to take certain precaution while operating the computer or the net. You should keep following things in mind before you use the Internet. 

1. To prevent cyber stalking, avoid disclosing any information pertaining to oneself. This is as good as disclosing your identity to strangers in public place. 
2. Always avoid sending any photograph online, particularly to strangers and chat friends, as there have been incidents of misuse of the photographs. 
3. Always use latest and updated antivirus software to guard against virus attacks. 
4. Always keep backup volumes so that one may not suffer data loss in case of virus contamination. 
5. Never send your credit card number to any site that is not secured, to guard against frauds. 
6. Always keep a watch on the sites that your children are accessing in order to prevent any kind of harassment or corruption in children. 
7. It is better to use a security program that gives control over the cookies and send information back to the site as leaving the cookies unguarded might prove fatal. 
8. Web site owners should watch traffic and check any irregularity on the site. Putting host-based intrusion detection devices on servers may do this 
9. Use of firewalls may be beneficial. 
10. Web sewers running public sites must be physically separate and protected from internal corporate network.  

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