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Internet: hackers' activity grows

By Vladimir Golubev
Date: July 15, 2003

Stop Cyber Crime Volume of transactions through the Internet constantly grows. New kinds of electronic purchases, auctions and capital issues trade in the Internet become more and more popular. The Internet develops new forms of economic relations. According research company eMarketer, in 2003 the world circulation in e-commerce will reach $ 1,26 trillion.

At the same time, there are two reverses of the medal. Expected development of e-business, most likely, pleases not only owners of developing Internet-shops and services^; cyber criminals are waiting impatiently for the new victims. The use of modern technologies and telecommunication has considerably expanded their ęhunting groundĽ. In this connection the question on the importance of such phenomenon, like hacker's activity is extremely urgent.

All hackers can be divided into two categories. The first do not get any material benefit from their occupation. Often, they are representatives of various movements. For example, one of them acts under the aegis "Hack the planet". These hackers are irritated just with the fact, that something is protected, closed. The information should be accessible, if there is a barrier, it should be hacked. There are also hackers which have the purpose to destroy of all computers all over the Internet.

The second category of hackers is the people taking benefit from the "hobby". In fact, they are the same thieves, nothing distinguishing from the thieves which got to you home and stole valuable things.

Some of them specialize on cards (credit, telephone, access in the Internet). Others "crack" the software to not pay money for license software and distribute it. Some hackers plunder the banks, like for example, Vladimir Levin the most known hacker of Russia, managed to rob the American City Bank and arrested in 1995.

There are "famous" pages in a track record of hackers. In the beginning of 80th years, the thousands virtual villains from U.S. and the Europe attacked headquarters of NATO in Brussels. The access to a confidential database of the largest military block managed to be stopped only with the help of mass arrests. In 1986 hackers from Europe nearly have disabled the intercontinental satellite of NASA^; the group of space experts was engaged in its rescue. One year later the unknown hacker has penetrated into the server of computer communication with satellite "Shuttle" and has downloaded confidential files. Approximately at the same time, police has arrested the hacker, who had data on ten thousand people (numbers of credit cards, bank accounts) in his computer.

In the beginning of 90th in Kazakhstan, the criminal has penetrated into computer control centre of one of long-range missile shafts. In 1991 police has arrested the hacker who has brought the viruses into control system of nuclear reactor at Ignalinka power station (Russia, Siberia). Consequences could be frightening. The history of Russian cybercrime begins since 1993 when the Ministry of Internal Affairs has recognized a problem of computer crime: Central bank has lost 68 billion roubles because of cybercrime that year.

Experts believe that computer crimes in Russia will grow more and more every year. It is the most latent kind of crimes for today. The fact that the hackersí community is absolutely virtual society complicates their search and neutralization. Hackers do not know each other by sight, they do not know the names - they know only the "nicks" (nicknames). They donít conduct any congresses or assemblies. They meet each other in the Internet.

So, it is possible to talk now about the process of intensive development of new virtual transnational criminal groups which use the Internet-technologies in the criminal activity. All this demands of adequate response and counteraction to criminalization of the Internet.

Computer Crime Research Center

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