I am going discuss how computers have changed the IT industry and how computer crime began. I will also review the different types of crime, viruses, hacking and looking at what acts these criminals were prosecuted with.

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1.0 Introduction of the chosen topic

I am going discuss how computers have changed the IT industry and how computer crime began.  I will also review the different types of crime, viruses, hacking and looking at what acts these criminals were prosecuted with.

I will then discuss how and why the Computer misuse Act was considered and passed, what it was designed to protect against and talk about people who were committed of such crimes.  

Other points which I will evaluating are;

  • Hacking over the internet

  • computer misuse

  • User awareness

  • Security

  • Network operating systems

I will only give overviews on the topics I feel are of a big concern in professionalism, as theses can be an entire report on there own.

2.0 The evolution of computers

The evolution of the computer has had a major impact on our everyday lives.  Computers have now advanced to big applications, for example databases, design applications (CAD), virtual reality, etc and the means of sharing data has now advanced to optical drives and vast networks.  

Networks are now deployed in almost every home and organization, they are used for databases, payroll, on-line banking, digital pictures, digital movies, information, communications, etc.  More and more home users are connecting to one of the world’s biggest network, the World Wide Web (Internet).

2.1 Computer Crime

As to the speed of the IT evolution, computer users and crimes were also evolving, as some users started using computers for things they weren’t designed for and for tasks they weren’t allowed to perform (computer misuse).  Some of the ways individuals can perform these tasks are:

  • Viruses

A virus is a piece of code which attaches itself to specific file extensions, kept on a magnetic storage.  When the file is run the virus, replicates itself, and causes damage or causes trouble for users.  These can be downloaded from storage media and the internet without the user being aware, these viruses replicate themselves.  (Microsoft)

  • Trojans

Trojans are based on deception, a Trojan writer disguises it as another file, when the user tries to run it, the Trojan will perform an unexpected operation, for example format the entire hard drive.  

  • Worms

A small program which hides within magnetic media without the use of files, they can begin to operate when certain events occur, written by the worm writer, because they do not hide within computer files they are harder to detect.  

  • Logic bombs

A piece of code that waits for a specific date or occurrence, and then cause’s damage to data stored on magnetic disks.  

  • Hacking

Hacking is when a person uses a computer to gain unauthorized access to another computer system of an individual, company or government.  

People who have wrote these types of virus programs and who have hacked into computer systems have all committed a crime, but these aren’t the only types of computer misuse.  In the early age of computer systems, users started to commit these crimes and when they were caught it was hard to prosecute them under what was law.  

2.2 Hacking

Hacking is a type of fraud, when some kind of gain has been achieved by deceit, so when a person has committed fraud without the use of computers they are sometimes committed for the;

  • Theft act of 1968 & of 1978
  • Finance act of 1972
  • Criminal damage act of 1979
  • Data protection act of 1998
  • Copyright law, design and patents act of 1988

But such acts weren’t appropriate for computer misuse.  

Computer fraud is usually when you interfere with a computer with the use of either a viruses or hacking to gain financial advantage.  

There are a number of ways in which this is possible. You can alter paper based data before someone unwittingly enters it into a computer, hack into another company and modify data or release viruses to gain financial advantage, hack into a bank to increase your savings, personally enter or modify incorrect data on your companies data.  

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The Theft Act of 1968 was when a person committed the crime of ‘obtaining property by deception’, which is an act of fraud.  This crime can also be committed from other countries around the world which makes it even harder for the law.  Here is a case of such a crime;

R v Thompson [1984]

This case is classified as a 'program fraud 'case and is a UK decision.

The Defendant is a computer programmer employed by a Kuwaiti bank. While in the employment, he identified certain bank accounts which has huge amounts of deposits but had ...

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