As the world continues to thrive in the digital world, developments in technology continue to advance. Humans build their lives around wired and wireless networks, leaving imprints of their personal data available on the internet. In the past years, what is highly noticeable is the rise of various types of computer crimes. With this, the risk of losing personal data or becoming victims of cyber crimes also increases. Not all computer crimes involve damage to the physical property, but rather theft involving software manipulation and breach of human and information privacy. Computer crimes are criminal activities that involve illegal and unauthorized access to computer systems, resulting to damage, deletion, or modification of computer data, among others.
One of the most serious computer crimes involves stealing the identity of another individual, called identity theft. It is the act where one assumes the identity of another individual to buy goods and services using another individual’s credit card details or financial identity. Another form of identity theft is called identity cloning which allows the cyber theft to pose as a false user. Blackmail and terrorism are other forms of identity theft (Pot). Cyber stalking is another form of computer crime. Using communication technology, cyber stalkers harass and torture individuals using social networking sites, chat rooms, and online forums to gather information about the intended victim. At other times, harassers know the victims personally. Perpetrators send offensive emails and threats to victims and sexually harass individuals online (Pot). If they see that their online stalking is not working, perpetrators then resort to offline stalking (“Cyber Crime”). Hacking refers to tactics of cyber criminals wherein they try to gain illegal access to computer systems by breaching security codes. Hackers obtain unauthorized access with the use of software that could help reveal computer passwords to gain access to private communication systems of an organization. It could also involve the hacking of company IP addresses in order to carry out transactions using an identity recognized by the company or any other false identity (“Cyber Crime”).
Those who find themselves victims of cybercrimes must ensure to report the incident to authorities right away. For instance, unauthorized access to a company’s computer system may be traced by the IT Department using the IP address that illegally accessed the system. Cyber stalker victims should report their harassment to the social networking site or file a complaint to the sites Support group to track the activities of a certain account, and consequently, ban the account. This is especially important if adolescents use computers as well. In addition, parents are highly encouraged to set parental controls on their children’s computers so that they can also track the sites that their children visit and limit the child’s internet access (The FBI). When it comes to online transactions, users must ensure to transact business only with reputable companies. Those who do not provide additional information about their companies but require people to use their credit cards could be bogus companies that attempt to steal users’ online information (The FBI).
The internet is a helpful technological advancement, but it is also a place where a lot of crimes of today occur. It involves the exploitation of computer and communication technology for criminals to carry out their criminal activities. While the internet and advanced computer systems have proved to be marvels of technology, ensuring the protection of the millions of internet users has yet to be perfect.
“Cyber Crime.” Cross Domain Solutions. N.d. Web. 24 September 2013. <http://www.crossdomainsolutions.com/cyber-crime/>.
Pot, Justin. “Top Five Computer Crimes & How to Protect Yourself from Them.” MakeUseOf. 2010. Web. 24 September 2013. <http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/top-five-computer-crimes-protect/>.
The FBI. “Cyber Crime.” The FBI. N.d. Web. 24 September 2013. <http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/cyber>.