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Computer Crime Essay

1822 words - 7 pages

Computer Crime

Almost every major political candidate in recent history has used, and often exploited, on of the many facets of crime to attempt to convince American voters that they can feel secure and safe with the candidate at the leadership helm, coveted feelings in a tumultuous world. As a result, we have more policemen patrolling the streets, laws such as the death penalty and “three strikes your out”, proposed increases to defenses spending for both the latest weapons and more armed service men, beefed up airport security measures, and catchy candidate slogans such as “tough on crime”. And yet, the one facet of “crime” that no one is talking about is the one issue that has the potential to destroy the American economy, the American political system, and the lives of the American citizens. As new cops patrol the streets at night and technology’s most advanced weapons sit ready to deploy in order to protect our land, some of the worlds most vicious and dangerous criminals invade our homes and our country’s borders each day almost without a trace. Computer crime and terrorism are plaguing our nation, and our “leaders” continue to march the nation into the criminal’s hands.

Today, more and more, computer crime has made its way into the headlines, the evening news, and major newspapers. In recent years, we have seen attacks on major websites such as Yahoo, America Online, the FBI’s home page, and many others. These attacks, known as “hacking”, have ranged from defacing web pages to shutting down entire sites, costing thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars each time (Quinn, 1). In other areas of computer crime, individuals use credit card fraud to buy items online in an environment where they are not checked by anything more than a card number, expiration date, and billing address. In a one year period, it is estimated that computer crime causes hundreds of millions of dollars in damage (Carter, 3). These crimes and attacks have become so prevalent that a name has been given to the perpetrators: “hackers”. Hackers, and the crimes that they commit, have become a very serious threat to the well being of society in the United States.

Hacking is defined by the CCI Online Computer Dictionary as using “ingenuity and creativity to solve computer-programming problems,” and “to overcome the limitations of a system and expand its capabilities” (CCI Computing). Though by this definition, hacking seems harmless, and maybe even useful, the act is more commonly associated with negative actions and aggressive crimes. The PC Webopedia defines hacking as “modifying a program, often in an unauthorized manner, by changing the code itself” (PC Webopedia). The term “hacker” references the latter definition, and refers to the person who invades the affected computers. Perhaps the most threatening aspect of hackers, though, is that anyone with more than a cursory knowledge of computer programming can quickly begin wreaking...

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