Computer Crime Research Center


Subject of criminal activity in the sphere of computer technologies

Date: May 01, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Victor Sabadash

Subject of a crime is a minimum set of marks describing a person that committed a crime, necessary to make this person responsible.

Studies conducted, in particular, in Australia, Canada, the US, Germany helped to divide computer criminals into three main categories by age:
- 11-15 years old – involved in crimes using telephone networks, credit cards and ATMs;
- 17-25 years old – involved in hacking;
- 30-45 years old – use computers for mercenary purposes and espionage.

Persons committing computer crimes also may be divided in the following three big groups by the corresponding sign:
- persons, who are not in labor relations with the victim organization, but are related to it;
- employees of the organization that occupy responsible positions;
- employees-users of computers that abuse their office.

Western specialists divide personnel that pose danger into the following categories by spheres of activity:
1. Operational crimes (are committed by users of computers and service engineers maintaining lines of telecommunication).
2. Crimes based on use of software, committed by persons that are in control of libraries of software; system programmers; application programmers and well-trained users.
3. Systems, terminals, communications and electronics engineers that pose danger to the hardware part of computer systems.
4. Managerial employees: management of computer networks, operators, data bases and software departments.
5. Security officers, employees that control of computer operation.

About 90% of abuses in the financial sphere related to information security violations occur with direct or indirect participation of current or former banks’ employees. At that, the most skilled and qualified employees that have maximum rights and permissions in the inside computer networks of banks – systems administrators and other employees of IT departments more often follow the criminal path.

All computer criminals can be divided into the following separate groups by purposes and spheres of their activities:

1. Hackers are users of computer systems and/or networks that are involved in searching illegal ways of obtaining unauthorized access to computers or data bases. According to some experts, their main task is to examine a computer system, to reveal flaws in its security, to inform users and developers with the purpose of its further improvement and to give suggestions on it. Nowadays law enforcement employees are anxious about appearance of so-called “white hackers”. Leaders of such formations explain that they do not apply their skills to attacks, they just examine flaws of operation systems with purpose to remove them. However, we know many cases when hackers, while examining information systems of organizations, offered their services to remove these flaws and the management paid more than $50 millions.

For last years hackers of the Eastern Europe hacked about 1 million of credit card numbers of 40 financial companied of the US; 64% of huge companies suffered losses from hackers’ activities. Experts estimate that cyber criminality returns huge profit yearly. At that 97% of these crimes are not even filed. Card frauds share $400 millions, viruses – $12 billions, piracy - $1 billion from this sum. It is anticipated that incomes from illegal copying of music, video or texts from the Internet will amount to $112 billions by 2005.

2. Crackers are more serious offenders, able to cause damage to a system. Cracker breaks into a system, he acts with the purpose to obtain unauthorized access to someone else’s information. Causes of may be different: hooligan motives, naughtiness, revenge, mercenary purposes, industrial or other espionage, etc.

Experts mark out three groups of crackers:
a) vandals – their main purpose to hack computer systems for further destruction (deletion of files, formatting of hard disk causing loss of the stored information, etc);
b) jokers – the most harmless (in view of damage to computer information) part of crackers. Their purpose is hacking of computer system and carrying in different sound, noise and visual effects;
c) breakers – professional criminals commit hacking of computer systems with purpose of money theft, industrial or commercial espionage, thefts of expensive software, etc.

3. Phreaker (phone + break = phreak) – involved in using phone networks with purpose of evading payment of telephone bills. Their criminal activity is directed at obtaining access codes, information thefts, thefts of phone cards and numbers of access with purpose to transfer telephone conversation charges to other people.

4. Carders pay for their expenses at the account of someone else’s credit cards.

5. Collectors (codes kids) collect and use software intercepting various passwords, codes and numbers of private phone companies that have access to global networks.

6. Cyber crows are malefactors involved in unauthorized break into computer systems of financial and banking accounts. They use computer technologies to obtain numbers of credit cards and some other valuable information for mercenary purposes. They often sell obtained info to other people.

7. Computer pirates are specialized in illegal cracking of protection systems of licensed software and then sell it at prices that are significantly lower than prices of the manufacturers.

Add comment  Email to a Friend

Discussion is closed - view comments archieve
2005-02-22 15:22:58 - morons abat
2005-02-22 15:22:38 - stinkos paulo
2005-02-22 15:22:12 - can we have more excitement like make... aboto
Total 3 comments
Copyright © 2001-2013 Computer Crime Research Center
CCRC logo