Criminalistics Characteristic of Cybercrimes’ Committers
Computer crimes are characterized by high latency. Therefore, official statistics cannot give an opportunity to obtain adequate data on criminalistical characteristic of
persons, who commit crimes by using computer technologies in Ukraine. It happens because of the imperfectness of statistics and high latency of such crimes that is
proved in particular by home researches in this field [1,2].
Computer crimes are characterized by high latency. Therefore, official statistics cannot give an opportunity to obtain adequate data on criminalistical characteristic of persons, who commit crimes by using computer technologies in Ukraine. It happens because of the imperfectness of statistics and high latency of such crimes that is proved in particular by home researches in this field (1,2).
Problems of persons committing crimes by using computer technologies were considered in works of foreign and native scientists: P. Androushko, V. Vekhov, P.Bilenchouk, V.Kozlov, V.Krilov, G.Levitsky, V.Loukashevich, N.Rozeneld and others [3,4,5]. However, despite of absolute theoretical and practical importance of these researches, problems of criminal characteristic of persons committing crimes by using computer technologies, their personal properties have not been studied sufficiently yet. In our opinion, further research and development of criminalistical characteristic of those persons are urgent and have not only theoretical importance but also practical one. One of the main factors not only in investigating crimes but also taking preventive measures is to reveal criminalistical information on a criminal person.
Criminal person is a minimum totality of signs characterizing a criminal, which is necessary to institute criminal proceedings against him. Lack of one of these signs means no availability of corpus delicti.
Personal qualities and environment gradually determine motivation of deciding to commit a crime by using computer technologies. Motivation includes the process of origin and formation of motive of criminal conduct and its purposes.
The motive of criminal conduct should be considered as an impulse formed under the influence of person's social environment and life experience, which is an inner direct reason of criminal activities and express personal attitudes towards what they are directed at .
Problem of criminalistical characteristic of “a computer criminal” requires studying it on the level of essential assessment of factual data generalized in the criminology and criminalistics and analyzing statistical data, which characterize an object of investigation, criminal-legal characteristic of criminal's personality.
“Professional” habits and style of criminals are expressed by some ways, methods and means of committing crimes. Crime traces prove peculiarities of criminal's social-psychological portrait: experience, profession, age, sex, knowledge and so on. Formation of the bank of typical models of various categories of criminals allows optimizing the process of detecting the circle of persons among those the search of a criminal is the most probable. Obtained in the process of investigation data on a criminal's personality, his criminal conduct and guiltiness forms a factual base to make up well-grounded legal decisions on his criminal prosecution.
Many persons including high-skilled experts and amateurs are involved in the computer crimes. Delinquents have a different social status and level of education. They can be divided into two big groups:
1. Persons maintaining business and working relationships with a victim.
2. Persons maintaining no business relationships with a victim.
Officials abusing their official position can be referred to the first group. They are clerks, security officers, inspecting officials, persons dealing with organizational questions and engineering-technical staff. According to our research, the part of programmers, engineers, operators and other organization officials obtaining illegal access to computer systems made up 41,9%. In 20,2% of cases, other officials committed such crimes, former organization officials making 8,6% . Representatives of other organizations engaged in service maintenance and repair of systems constitute a potential menace.
Persons possessing considerable knowledge in the field of computer technologies and being mostly guided by mercenary motives can be referred to the second group. This group also includes experts-professionals considering security of computer systems as a challenge to their professionalism. Some of them gradually begin tî enjoy such activities and conclude that it is possible to combine material and intellectual incentives.
As to the criminal's psychic attitude towards a crime to be committed, most computer offences are committed with direct intent. Programmers and security officers have practically minimized an opportunity to damage accidentally or carelessly guarded interests of computer technique users.
Most computer crimes are characterized by mercenary motives. The role of offences committed by mischief-makers is not considerable. Political motives can be met as well because global computer systems are an effective instrument of political demarches.
According to Interpol expert commission, statistical ratio of various motives at the computer crime commitment is the follows:
- Mercenary motives – 66%^;
- Political motives (terrorism, political actions) – 17%^;
- Research interest – 7%^;
- Hooligan and mischief motives – 5%^;
- Revenge – 4%.
Foreign and native researches give an opportunity to form abstract portraits of typical computer offenders. Literature sources often describe the typical modern computer wrongdoer (hacker) in the following way: he early learns computer, computer system is his sense of life, he is a social renegade paying no attention to surrounding world, and he often has some negative complexes. The first real life achievement for many children is to become a hacker.
Despite that, all computer attack initiators are called hackers, they are different, possess different possibilities and damage caused by their activities is different as well.
Steven Levy had his book “Hackers: Heroes of computer revolution” issued in 1984. He characterizes three generations of hackers in it. The first one appeared in 60th – early 70th at computer science faculties in universities. In late 70th, the second generation invented the personal computer and did not study computer science in specialized institutes. The third generation (hackers of early 80th) created many applied, educational and playing programs for personal computers. The typical figure here is Mitch Caper the former teacher of transcendental meditation, who made “Lotus 1-2-3” program, which favor the success of IBM computers.
Many people now call themselves hackers. They are ranged from a person who is capable of writing easy macros in Word to Kevin Mithnik who was pursued by Interpol for some years.
Any highly skilled expert in computing technique is often called a hacker. We cannot but agree with that. Professionalism is highly valued in any work. With reference to computing technique for example the system administrator (even if a system has two-three machines) must narrowly study operation systems, transport records, peculiarities of coding languages and details of applied packages. Fist of all it reveals weak and strong places of computer systems and uses obtained information. These data allow not only “to protect” systems from breaking but also on the contrary – “to break” them. Thus, the term “hacker” combines at least two meanings: “breaker” and expert.
From the standpoint of psycho-physiological characteristics, it is as a rule a creative person, professional capable of running a technical challenge and risks. Large companies now strive for recruiting the most experienced hackers to protect information and computer systems.
Neil Davis, an expert in computer security, thinks that hackers-amateurs are the most numerous but the least dangerous (80% of computer attacks). They are interested in no aim but the attack process itself. They enjoy overcoming systems of protection. Their actions are often easy to suppress because hackers-amateurs prefer not to enter into a conflict with the Law. According to practice, most hackers do not have the traditional criminal past.
The improvement of computing technique favors the sophistication of computer crimes. Whereas the development of global information network Internet caused cyber-crimes.
The analysis of native and foreign practice and the study of literature sources show that the age of computer offenders is ranged from 14 to 45 years.
It can be concluded from materials of expert researches  that the age of 33% deliberate criminals did not exceed 20 years when committing a crime, 54% - from 20 to 40 years, 13% - were older than 40 years. That is researches deny a formed opinion that hackers are mainly teenagers from 13 to 20 years.
Men five times oftener commit crimes by using computer technologies. Most subjects of such crimes have finished or unfinished high technical education (53,7%) and other finished or unfinished high education (19,2%) . However, the number of crimes committed by women has increased recently. It is connected with the professional orientation of some specialties and posts equipped with automated computer working places, which are often taken by women (secretary, book-keeper, economist, manager, controller, cashier and so on).
Criminological researches show:
- Fixed offenders had a special training in the field of automated computer processing of information (2%)^;
- Officials of state establishments and organizations, which used computer systems and information technologies in their everyday activity (97%)^;
- Directly connected with operating means of computing techniques (30%).
Organization officials taking up main posts also commit computer crimes. Experts note that organization directors commit over 25% computer crimes. Modern managers as a rule are experts of a high level, possess sufficient computer training and professional knowledge, have an access to wide information and can give instructions but do not directly response for the computer system operation.
V.Bekhov singles out three separate groups of computer criminals:
- Persons characterized by fixed combination of the professionalism in the sphere of computing technique and programming with elements of peculiar fanaticism and inventiveness^;
- Persons suffering from a new kind of psychic diseases – information illness or computer phobia^;
- Professional computer criminals with pronounced mercenary purposes .
While studying special literature on problems of computer security, we have taken note of the division of all computer professionals into two groups: hackers and crackers. In fact, they occupy themselves with searching vulnerable places in computing systems and attacking the given systems (“breakings”). However, the “hacker” mainly aims at revealing weak places in the computer security system and informing users and system developers in order to eliminate detected defects, make suggestions on its improvement . “Hacker” in many cases means a gifted law-obedient programmer .
This category is divided into subgroups: computer hooligans, electronic corsairs and so on. They considerably enjoy overcoming difficulties in technical (program) protection – passwords of access to the computer. The more sophisticated its system is the more attractive it is for hackers.
“Crackers” break computer systems to gain unauthorized access to smb. else's information. The motives can be different: rowdy-dowdy incentives, mischief, revenge, self-interest, industrial and other espionage and so on.
In addition depending on the kind of activity subjects of illegal access to computer information can be divided into:
- Frickers – people specialized in using telephone systems to avoid the payment for telecommunication services^;
- Carders pay their expenses with other's credit cards^;
- Collectors collect and use computer program products, intercept various passwords and also phone call codes and numbers of phone companies having an access to computer networks of general application for example Internet^;
- Cyber-crows – deliberate offenders specialized in penetrating into computer systems of financial, banking payments. They use computer technologies to get numbers of credit cads and other valuable information for the purpose of profits. They often sell obtained information to third persons^;
- Computer pirates are specialized in illegally breaking protective systems of licensed computer program products distributed then at prices, which are noticeably lower than those of legal manufacturers.
Professional computer criminals with pronounced mercenary purpose form the most dangerous group. According to experts, they commit about 79% all crimes, which are connected with stealing material values at especially large rates and most malfeasances. These persons can be characterized as highly skilled experts with high juridical, technical and economical education. They know computing technique perfectly well, master programming, their actions are accompanied by excellent disguise. This category of criminals is the most dangerous for the society and government.
Terrorist organizations more often use new information technologies and Internet for the criminal purpose. Such terrorist groups as Hezbollah, HAMAS, Abu Nidal and Bin Laden's al Qaeda use computer files, e-mail and ways of coding (cryptography and computer stenography) to support their unlawful activities. Though terrorists did not use cyber-weapon on destination, they apply new information technologies and computer process achievements and it is already a warning of danger. Cyber-terrorism using up-to-date information technologies first of Internet to attack important state infrastructures (such as power, transport and governmental ones) can soon become a real menace to the national security of developed world countries.
Some foreign special services have applied for a long time modern computer technologies to obtain an access to state secrets and confidential information. Commercial and industrial espionage deals with obtaining information of commercial and industrial character.
The use of Internet on purpose of fraud is now one of the most extended varieties of cyber-crimes, which both private and state structures fight against. There are thousand websites, which are engaged in distributing exclusively unlicensed (piratical) products.
Crimes connected with distributing harmful programs for computing technique make up 19,7% the whole number of computer offences. Disks containing harmful programs are chiefly distributed by selling piratical software. Such disks usually include different sets of programs designed to break computer systems and harmful programs – viruses and program bookmarks as well.
It is important that law enforcement agencies would study the nature of these crimes and fight against deliberate offenders with their weapon – Internet. Now Ukraine takes measures to assure constitutional rights of people concerning the protection of information and guarantee of information security, creation of favorable conditions for preventing and fighting against cyber-crimes. Crimes committed by using computer technologies admit no borders^; therefore, traditional ways of revealing and fighting against cyber-crimes are not sufficiently effective. The further study of criminological problems of computer crimes, scientific search of effective ways of increasing information security by improving organizational-legal protection of information in computer systems, a solving of problems of prevention and investigation of computer crimes, training of experts (law-protectors) are actual in this context.
Taking into consideration of what has been mentioned above it can be concluded that a singling out of different categories of computer criminals, knowledge of their main features allow optimizing the process of revealing persons among which it would be purposeful to search a criminal, that is prove guilty of a concrete wrongdoer.
The knowledge of personal properties of criminal subjects will allow operative workers, inspectors to reveal and investigate such crimes, to determine the tactics of interrogation, criminalistics operations in due time.
1. P. Bilenchouk, B. Romanyuk, V. Tsimbalyuk and others. Computer crimes. Manual – K.: Atika, 2002. - 240p.
2. V. Tsimbalyuk Latency of computer crimes // Fight against organized crimes and corruption (theory and practice). – 2001. - #3. – P.178
3. N. Rozenfeld Subject of crime “illegal interference into work of computers, their systems and computer networks” http://www.crime-research.org/library/Rozenf.htm
4. P. Bilenchouk, O. Kotlarevsky Portrait of computer criminal. – K., 1997. – 48p.
5.Golubev V.A. Hackers or crackers, who are they? http://www.crime-research.org/library/hack22.html
6. K. Igoshev Typology of criminal's personality and motivation of criminal conduct. – Gorky, 1974. – P.66.
7. V. Golubev, V. Golovin Problems of investigating crimes in the sphere of using computer technologies http://www.crime-research.org/library/New_g.htm
8. P. Bilenchouk, B. Romanyuk, V. Tsimbalyuk and others Computer crimes. Manual – K.: Atika, 2002. – P123.
9. V. Golubev Criminological characteristic of crimes in the sphere of using computer technologies. - http://www.crime-research.org/library/Gol_tem2.htm
10. V. Kozlov Theory and practice of fighting against computer crimes. – M.: Goryachaya Linia – Telecom, 2002. – P.162.
11. I. Medvedovsky, P. Semyanov, D. Leonov Attack against Internet. – M., 1999. – P.11-29.
12. D. Aikanov, D. Saguer, W. Fonstroh Computer crimes. – M., 1999. – P.91.
^macro[showdigestcomments;^uri;Criminalistics Characteristic of Cybercrimes’ Committers]