Computer Crime Problems Research Center

Vladimir Golubev, Ph.D.

Computer crime fighting problems

Vladimir Golubev Up-to-date informational technology use makes “computer crime” not only profitable business, but also a rather safe one. UNO (United Nations Organization) Committee on Criminality puts this problem into one line together with terrorism and drugs distribution.

Reported facts on informational crime are rather scanty. Perhaps, nobody in the world has detailed and full, clear idea of informational crime. It is understandable, that state and commercial structures, which have undergone attacks, are not so inclined to advertise the consequences caused by the attacks, and "efficiency" of the systems of their protection. Thus such instances when crime was committed are known to have occurred without being made public. But well-known facts about informational crime produce a great impression on us.

Thus in Italy, in 1983 with the help of computers more than 20 billion lyres had been stolen from banks. In France losses reach 1 billion francs per year, and the number of similar crimes increases for 30-40 % annually.

In Germany computer mafia abducts up to 4 billion DM per year. According to American State Computer Crime Information Center in 1988 American firms suffered losses of $500 million because of computer crimes.

According to FBA data, annual losses, which result from crime, committed with the help of computer techniques and telecommunication systems, amount at 10 billion dollars. The average sum of a crime equals to 430 thousand dollars. Chances to find a criminal are extremely low: according to estimations one crime out of 25 thousand is disclosed [1].

According to the most conservative estimates annual losses from " computer criminality " in Europe and America make several tens billions dollars. In 90% cases detectives and investigators do not even manage to trace a criminal. And this is a common thing for America, where the first offence of this kind was recorded in 1966, and the police had already gained some experience in this area. In June 1999, the first computer bank robbery in Ukraine was disclosed [2]. 23 October 1998, from accounts of reserve fund of Vinnitsa regional management of National bank of Ukraine criminals stole 80,4 million UAH (20 million dollars at the NBU rate at the moment of crime commitment). Getting a non-authorized access and penetration in computer networks of the bank was the method of stealing the money. After 8 months of hard work, employees of the office on struggle against organized crime had succeeded. After simultaneous carrying out of eleven searches planned beforehand by Central administrative board on struggle agai nst the organized crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine more than 30 person, involved in commitment of this resonant crime had been arrested. At the place of residence of one of the accessories 81 thousand dollars had been found and withdrawn.

In August 1999 the Russian law enforcement bodies neutralized the group, which with the help of a domestic computer and network Internet managed to penetrate into a network of the virtual American shop, which carried out trade through Internet.

As recorded in the case materials, « … in February, 1998 a citizen G. has found out software product "Authorise" in wide-area network Internet, which is responsible for clearings among shops and holders of the plastic cards, arising at the order and purchase of the goods via Internet. G. copied this program in his computer and thus getting access to data on plastic cards numbers by which payment of the goods in "computer" shops is made [3]. The mechanism of fraud is the following: - G., being at home and working in the Internet, imitated "computer" shop " work Virtualynx Internet LLC " (Vancouver, USA) which accepts orders for the goods and receives payment through Internet. Thus pretending to be a customer he allegedly made orders for purchase of the goods, paying for them at the expense of the means placed on plastic cards which account numbers were known to him from the available program "Authorise". The legal cards owners themselves didn’t even suspect that they were buying something in Vancouver. After the transaction G refused from the order made. But he indicated the number of the “fake” card belonging to one of accomplices, and not the number of the card, from which the money was withdrawn. His accomplice had opened bank accounts beforehand. But the criminal could not transfer money from one card to another card, as such operation would be noticed immediately. The criminals had written-off the money from the "computer" shop account, entering it in the "fake” plastic card account of the accomplice. Thus, G. had created visibility of normal work of shop dealing in the Internet network.

According to the FBI chief statement made at the Senate, the number of the computer crimes, in which his office was engaged, doubled in the last year. In 1998 FBI opened 547 cases on “computer intrusion”. In 1999 the number of such cases increased up to 1154 [4]. FBI states that the main menace is coming from the computer experts, hackers and virus founders who are not satisfied with their life or the way they live, so they hunt for money. According to the USA official statistics data, from 90% of the interviewed whose computer systems had undergone Internet attacks in 1999, 74% stated that penetration into their system was connected with embezzlement of the confidential information or financial fraud. Financial losses from information embezzlement and financial fraud result in $68 million and $56 million. Financial losses of the 273 interviewed resulted in more than 265 million dollars. In 1998 the losses from attack such as " service refusal" made $77 thousand, and in 1999 they increased up to $116 thousand [4].

The given data evidently characterize tendencies of growth of computer crime and increase of public danger of the given kind of offences.

The basic problem of the present stage, probably, is in special preparation level of officials of law enforcement bodies who should put into practice requirements of new laws.

Giving criminalistic recommendations in the field of information offence and infringement, it is necessary to take into account heterogeneity of structure and educational level of our investigatory - judicial authority. It is clear that there are already well prepared experts. But many employees of investigation and inquest bodies do not only use technical means and information technologies in the activity so far, but also are insufficiently informed of them.

These facts force to give a more detailed explanation to a lot of the special terms concerning information technologies, which are important in the description of information relations. And also it is necessary to give criminalistic characteristic to crimes of considered kind

Probably, for this purpose, it is necessary to understand contents of "information" concept as new criminalistic object and special object of legal regulation and corresponding concepts, to consider set of normative regulation in Ukraine information relations and to determine a status of legal maintenance of the situation in the given area.

Then, it is necessary to consider the most important terms used to define a special device for computer information processing.

Such sequence will allow using special new terminology at drawing up criminalistic characteristics of crimes in the field of the computer information more freely.

2. Concept of information computer crimes

It was considered recently, that computer crime - is the phenomenon common only in the foreign capitalist countries, and owing to a weak computerization of our society, i.e. insufficient introduction in industrial and public relations of information technologies, is absent in general. This very circumstance also has led to absence of some serious scientific researches of this problem.

During the last year’s jobs on computer crime struggle problems have appeared, which consider criminal - legal and criminological aspects of this phenomenon. As it used to happen often earlier, for example - a situation with drug addiction or with the organized crime, struggle against this socially dangerous phenomenon began only after material losses from this new kind of crimes have reached the essential sizes and began to be allocated sharply on the general background of losses from usual kinds of criminal offence.

Since July, 1992 from the moment of creation of a permanent interdepartmental seminar "Computer crime", organized within the framework of the Ukrainian bureau of the INTERPOL of Ukraine, for the first time in Ukraine domestic criminalistic science has officially declared problems of struggle against computer crime.

In order to define essence of a problem precisely, for any science the approach when all researchers of a concrete subject field organize the dialogue on uniformly understood terms basis is quite logical and try to provide a certain stability of the conceptual - terminological instrument.
Domestic and foreign issues and editions and Mass Media are overwhelmed with various concepts, which mean different new expressions of criminal character in information field.
There are such names as " computer crimes ", and "communication crimes", and "cyber- gangsterism". Criminals also have the following names: "hackers", "crackers", "cyberpunks", and “gangsters on information superhighways”.
Distinction in terminology specifies not only society concern about new threat, but also on absence of full understanding of essence of this threat.

In conclusion it’s necessary to point out that our eyes have viewed the foundation of new information industry. Its independence and development prospective depended from clear regulation of lawful relations, which arise during formation and use of information recourses. " Information revolution " had overtaken the country in the difficult ecological and political period and demanded urgent regulation of problems arising on its way. But, as it is known, legal mechanisms can be switched on and become effective only when the public relations, which subject to regulation, were stabilized in a sufficient measure.

1. Congressional Record.// Senate.–1977, ¹27.
2. “The first computer bank robbery was disclosed in Ukraine” // Facts. - # 126. – 1999.
3. "Snake from the Internet" //Art-Mosaics. — ¹49. — 1999.
4. Statement for the Record of Louis J. Freeh, Director Federal Bureau of Investigation on Ñybercrime Before the Senate Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee for the Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information Washington, D.C..— 28 March 2000.
5. Computer word Kiev.2000. —16 February. — Ñ.29.

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