Computer technology offers a lot of advantages for people involved in a variety of spheres, including government, business, education, etc. With the help of computer and the Internet, it becomes possible for people to cross any boundaries. Internet is a powerful tool, which allows accessing a lot of resources with important information. Owing to this fact, Internet is considered to be one of the greatest technological and informational achievements. However, specialists suggest that at present time there is a lack of safety in the Internet. Although the majority of web-sites, which can be found in the Internet belong to certain business organizations or individual entrepreneurs, there are no people, organizations or governmental institutions, which control actions of people in the Internet and legal activity of existing networks. Such situation creates a ground to origin of computer and cyber crimes.
Before we start to describe computer crimes in details, it is worth mentioning that this phenomenon has rather long history. In the majority of cases, studies of computer crimes are traced back to 1960s, a period well known as a rise of informational technology. With the flow of time actions of computer criminals became more and more sophisticated. From damaging of computers physically, they passed on to releasing viruses, accessing secured information, and committing financial crimes. It is possible to say that with development of the Internet, computer crimes became more diverse, unpredictable and began to develop with a new force.
In general, computer crimes are divided into two main groups: old and new types of computer crimes. If at first, computer criminals used computers as a direct tool of their criminal act, later they started to use a variety of new technologies.
Nowadays, there is a wide range of cyber crimes, including hacking, credit card fraud, virus dissemination, pornography, etc. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the Internet gives a lot of opportunities for criminals of any kind. Pedophiles use Internet in order to exploit kids. Some individuals use Internet in order to have access to secured computers and release dangerous viruses that damage work of separate computers and huge computer systems. Members of extremist terrorist groups find Internet useful, because it can help them to destroy any target group of people. With the help of the Internet they also intentionally create ground for a variety of biased crimes. Apart from that, there are identity thieves, who specialize in credit card fraud and stealing confidential personal information. Elizabeth Kitchen (2010) notes that the majority of cyber crimes cannot be classified in accordance with only one category. Thus, it becomes rather difficult for specialists to compile data about these crimes.
Without any doubts, it is possible to say that at present time computer crimes are well organized. Nowadays a lot of criminals invest huge amounts of money into a development of technologies, which will help to improve computer crimes. Unfortunately, today no one can be protected from computer crimes. Thus, computers of individuals and various organizations can easily become a target of computer criminals.
It is crucial to have a serious approach to punishment of computer and cyber crimes, because such crimes negatively affect not only individual home computer, but organizational computers as well and lead to damage of businesses and erratic work of emergency systems.
U.S. government makes everything possible to fight against computer criminals. Today it can be said that American government makes attempts to prevent computer crimes. Special technologies are designed in order to control the Internet and fight against cyber and computer crimes. Special computer crime units are organized, which introduce penalties for various cyber crimes according to their seriousness. There is a positive tendency and in a result of such law innovations, it is possible to observe decrease in a number of computer and cyber crimes. However, it cannot be denied that they still exist and a lot has to be done in order to improve the situation and make the Internet a more pleasant and safe place.
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