Does Computer Crime Affect You?

Geek!This is Blake P’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

When someone uses the Internet to connect to a computer remotely without the other computer owner’s permission, they have just taken part in a new crime wave. Computers have become the new weapon of choice for those choosing to commit crime today. Computers can be used to open attacks on single computers, or entire networks. To address this crisis, it is necessary to look at the human factors involved. We know that this is a serious issue for businesses around the world and the public alike, but it is almost impossible to state exactly how much computer crime exists.

Some computer crime can remain undiscovered for lengthy periods of time. Many computer crimes may never be reported. If your computer is connected to the Internet, it is a target for criminals wanting to access your personal information and use it for their own purposes. The stealing of private e-mail addresses is another example that can have dangerous repercussions. More and more of our important information is stored, transferred, and processed on computers via the Internet.

The same interconnection between millions of computers that allows you to send e-mail across the world with the press of a button also allows computer criminals to do their dirty work. They wish to gain access to your financial information, and collect email addresses to spam. There are people out there trying every day to get past your security features. The cost of their crimes to businesses is huge. Computer crimes are growing and becoming a serious problem for businesses, the public, and government. Law enforcement agencies rush to keep up with growing computer technology and growing rates of computer-based crime.

As the use of computers has risen over the past twenty years, so has the use of this technology involved in crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, terrorism, theft, larceny, extortion, malicious mischief, espionage and sabotage. Most of the focus in the news today relating to computer crime deals with crimes committed using a computer… and crimes where a computer or a network is the object. The previous type includes crimes such as storing records of fraud, producing false identification. Crimes where computers are the targets can result in damage or change to the computer system.

Many times, officials cannot be sure what information was accessed during the computer attack. These two types of computer crimes are increasingly the computer crime of choice by most computer hackers. When you browse the Internet in the privacy of your own home, that information is not as private as you think because search engines track your every move. Every site that you visit, download, or post messages to is monitored. Privacy is a value, which is most appreciated once it is lost. It is important that we are aware of what is at risk and what our rights are. The Internet is one of the most common tools used to commit computer hacking.

The computer is here to stay. Computers are everywhere. We need not fall victim to computer crime. First, we must acknowledge its existence then do something about the problem. We need to take steps to detect and prevent computer crime.