Computer Crime


It's the weekend, you have nothing to do so you decide to
play around on your computer. You turn it on and then start
up, you start calling people with your modem, connecting to
another world, with people just like you at a button press
away. This is all fine but what happens when you start
getting into other peoples computer files. Then it becomes
a crime, but what is a computer crime really, obviously it
involves the use of a computer but what are these crimes.
Well they are: Hacking, Phreaking, & Software Piracy.
To begin I will start with Hacking, what is hacking.
Hacking is basically using your computer to "Hack" your way
into another. They use programs called scanners which
randomly dials numbers any generating tones or carriers are
recorded. These numbers are looked at by hackers and then
used again, when the hacker calls up the number and gets on
he's presented with a logon prompt, this is where the
hacking really begins, the hacker tries to bypass this
anyway he knows how to and tries to gain access to the
system. Why do they do it, well lets go to a book and see
"Avid young computer hackers in their preteens and teens
are frequently involved in computer crimes that take the
form of trespassing, invasion of privacy, or vandalism.
Quite often they are mearly out for a fun and games
evening, and they get entangled in the illegal use of their
machines without realizing the full import of what they are
doing", I have a hard time believing that so lets see what
a "hacker" has to say about what he does "Just as they were
enthraled with their pursuit of information, so are we. The
thrill of the hack is not in breaking the law, it's in the
pursuit and capture of knowledge.", as you can see the
"hacker" doesn't go out to do destroy things although some
do. It's in the pursuit of knowledge. Of course this is
still against the law. But where did all of this start, MIT
is where hacking started the people there would learn and
explore computer systems all around the world. In the views
of professional hacking is like drugs or any other
addictive substance, it's an addiction for the mind and
once started it's difficult to stop. This could be true, as
hackers know what they are doing is wrong and they know
odds are they will be caught. But as I mentioned some
hackers are just above average criminals, using there
skills to break in banks and other places where they can
get money, or where they can destroy information. What a
hacker does at a bank is take a few cents or even a few
fractions of a cents from many different accounts this may
seem like nothing but when all compiled can be alot. A
stick up robber averages about $8,000 each "job", and he
has to put his life and personal freedom on the line to do
it while the computer hacker in the comfort of his own
living room averages $500,000 a "job". As for people
destroying information, this is for taking some one down,
destruction of data could end a business which for some is
very attractive. It can cost a company thousands of dollars
to restore the damage done.
Now that you have an understanding of what a "hacker" is,
it time to move on to someone closely associates with a
hacker. This is a Phreak, but what is that. For the answer
we turn to the what is known as the "Official" Phreakers
Manual "Phreak [fr'eek] 1. The action of using mischievous
and mostly illegal ways in order to not pay for some sort
of telecommunications bill, order, transfer, or other
service. It often involves usage of highly illegal boxes
and machines in order to defeat the security that is set up
to avoid this sort of happening. [fr'eaking] v. 2. A person
who uses the above methods of destruction and chaos in
order to make a better life for all. A true phreaker will
not go against his fellows or narc on people who have
ragged on him or do anything termed to be dishonourable to
phreaks. [fr'eek] n. 3. A certain code or dialup useful in
the action of being
a phreak. (Example: "I hacked a new metro phreak last
night.")" The latter 2 ideas of what a phreak is, is rather
weird. A Phreak like the hacker likes to explore and
experiment, however his choice of exploring is not other
computer but the phone system as a whole. Phreaks explore
the phone system finding many different ways to do things,
most often make free calls. Why do they do this, " A hacker
and phreaker will have need to use telephone systems much
more than an average individual, therefore, methods which
can be used to avoid toll charges are in order. ". A phreak
has two basic ways of making free calls, he can call up
codes or PBXs on his phone and then enter a code and make
his call or he can use Electronic Toll Fraud Devices. Codes
are rather easy to get the phreak will scan for them, but
unlike a hacker will only save the tone(s) number instead
of the carrier(s). Then he will attempt to hack the code to
use it, these codes range from numbers 0 - 9 and can be any
length, although most are not more than 10. Electronic Toll
Fraud Devices are known as Boxes in the underground. Most
are the size of a pack of smokes, or than can be smaller or
bigger. I will not go too deep. They are electronic devices
than do various things, such as make outgoing calls free,
make incoming calls free, simulate coins dropping in a
phone, etc. People who "Phreak" are caught alot these days
thanks to the new technology.
Software Piracy is the most common computer crime, it is
the illegal coping of software. "People wouldn't think of
shoplifting software from a retail store, but don't think
twice about going home and making several illegal copies of
the same software." and this is true because I myself am
guilty of this. The major problem is not people going out
and buying the software then making copies for everyone,
it's the Bulletin Boards that cater to pirating software,
that really cause the problem. On anyone one of these
boards one can find an upwards of 300 - 1000+ of pirated
software open for anyone to take. This is a problem and
nothing can really be done about it. Few arrests are made
in this area of computer crime.
I will now devote a brief section to the above mentioned
BBS' , most are legal and do nothing wrong. However there
are many more that do accept pirated software, pornographic
pictures, animations , and texts. As well as a trading area
for phone codes, other BBS', Credit Card numbers, etc. This
is where a majority of Hackers and Phreaks come, as well as
those who continue to pirate software come to meet and
share stories. In this is a new world, where you can do
anything, there are groups that get, crack, and courier
software all over the world some of them are called: INC:
International Network Of Crackers, THG: The Humble Guys,
TDT: The Dream Team. As well a number of other groups have
followed suit such as Phalcon/SKISM (Smart Kids Into Sick
Methods), NuKE, and YAM (Youngsters Against McAfee) these
are virus groups who write and courier their work anywhere
they can, they just send it somewhere, where anyone can
take it and use it in any manner they wish, such as getting
even with someone. All of these activities are illegal but
nothing can be done, the people running these boards know
what they are doing. As it stands right now, the BBS world
is in two parts Pirating and the Underground, which
consists of Hackers/Phreaks/Anarchists/Carders(Credit Card
Fraud)/Virus programmers. All have different boards and
offer a variety of information on virtually any subject.
Well from all of this reading you just did you should have
a fairly good idea of what computer crime is. I didn't
mention it in the sections but the police, phone companies
are arresting and stopping alot of things every day. With
the new technology today it is easier to catch these
criminals then it was before. With the exception of the
BBS' the police have made some major blows busting a few
BBS', arresting hackers and phreaks. All of which were very
looked up to for knowledge in their areas of specialty. If
I had more time I could go into these arrests but I must
finish by saying that these are real crimes and the
sentences are getting harsher, with alot of the older
people getting out the newer people are getting arrested
and being made examples of. This will deter alot of
would-be computer criminal away. 

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