Cyber crime is an inevitable by-product of the recent advancements of technology in the field of computer science. Just as there exists crime in the real world so also does it exist in the virtual world in the form of exploitation through the internet. Some forms of cybercrime include hacking, cracking, copyright infringement, pornography, financial theft and espionage. Explained in detail the following terms refer to distortion of identity, cyber stalking, creation of malicious viruses, scams and other illegal aspects of computing. “The single biggest existential threat that’s out there, I think, is cyber” avers Michael Mullen.
Elucidating on the aforementioned terms, hacking refers to the access of computer systems legally or illegally. However, hacking might also refer to the invasion of privacy which can also be necessary for security reasons. The purposes of the hacker can range from profit, protest or challenge. They might not always be criminals but they are definitely people with advanced knowledge of computer systems. This process can be traced back to the 1960s.
Cracking refers to the process of recovering passwords and data in an unauthorized manner. Most methods of password cracking involve the repeated guesses of the password which causes technical glitches in the system. That is why most websites encourage their users to provide safe passwords for their accounts, using a combination of alphabets, digits and special characters. This also provides a necessary shield against randomly generated passwords. There are also software crackers, the most common ones being Cain and Abel, Hashcat, John the Ripper.
Copyright infringement refers to the distribution of works under copyright infringing the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. This may be the right to distribute copy or plagiarize the works. In informal terms, this process is also called piracy which is equivalent to theft in most countries. This form of black marketing seeks to make available the unavailable at cheaper prices.
Pornography refers to the overt sexual references and explicit graphic sexual images on the internet. It can also extend to other forms of mass media and communication such as books, art and theatre. It often contains nudity and hard core erotic graphics and thus is subject to extreme censorship and is labelled as offensive. It all depends on the social laws of the country as to whether such things are tolerated or not. Such content also encourages potential rape, child abuse, sexual violence, domestic ordeals and the like.
Other methods of fraud include the illegal transfer of funds from another person or company’s account. Such a person is called a thief in legal terms. This is a legal crime, as recognized by the jurisdiction of most countries as it entails the deprivation of the rightful owner. And finally, espionage is a technical term for spying and in computer related terms it refers to the process of data handling and gathering. In most cases, spying in this sense is considered illegal and punishable by law since it purports to gather human intelligence in an unwelcome manner.
Therefore, crimes are rampant in the real and the virtual world and awareness is needed to tackle such crimes at both levels.