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Computer Crime FIRE, Chapter 7 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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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)

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Computer Crime

FIRE, Chapter 7



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 or

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