Crime Essay Research Paper his research paper

Crime Essay, Research Paper

his research paper deals with the history, the development and the future of computer crime. It will show the reader what computer crimes are, how they operate, and how they influence the society. It will also attempt and predict what should or will happen in the future.

The computer whiz links up with a private computer system through a modem – a device used to ‘link up’ computers over telephone lines so that they can ‘talk’ to each other. A user name and password are promptly typed in and then instantly logs onto the host system. The computer whiz has managed to ‘hack’ into the private system. Unless he or she has a paid membership, this action is illegal and is considered a ‘computer crime’. A computer crime can be defined as “the destruction, theft, or unauthorized or illegal use, modification, or copying of information, programs, services, equipment (hardware), or communications networks.”[1] This research paper will deal with five types of computer crime – hacking, phreaking, carding, computer virus and computer piracy. All pertinent parts of the Act and Criminal Code of Canada will be outlined, including the punishment.


Hacking is the “misuse of a computer to illegally access private computer networks.”[2] Hackers employ many crafty techniques in order to gain access to the host computer system or network. Once they have obtained the correct password or access code needed for entry, they can enter the host computer system with many commands available. Then they can perform activities such as ‘eavesdropping’, ‘diddling’, and ’super zapping’. Eavesdropping is the viewing of private or personal information stored on the computer system. For example, a hacker can view credit card numbers or even top secret government information. Diddling is intentionally changing information stored on a computer or network. For example, a hacker could change school grades, erase telephone bills, or embezzle funds. Superzapping involves illegally by-passing passwords and other security measures that limit access to computer files and then stealing the information. Furthermore, some people destroy data on the host systems. They infect the data with infectious programs called viruses and trojans. Virus can replicate, infect and destroy data at preset times.

Trojans are like a disguise for a destructive program which is sometimes inserted onto the host system and upon executing it, the trojan will destroy or disrupt the system data. Both viruses and trojans will be talked in details later.

All the crimes mentioned above are dealt with in the Criminal Code of Canada. In Section 322 (1)(a), under the heading Theft, a hacker can be charged for the theft of information. Furthermore, in Section 342.1, under the heading Unauthorized Use of Computer, the hacker can be charged for accessing and using the host system without authorization. This crime can be punishable on an indicted or summary conviction. Under Section 536 (2), the court decides whether or not the offense is serious. If the crime is serious, the person is guilty of an indictable offense. He or she is liable for a prison term up to ten years. The court may decide the person is guilty of a summary conviction. According to Section 787 (1), he or she is liable for a fine up to two thousand dollars or imprisonment for six months, or both. Finally, in Section 430 (1.1), under the heading Mischief, anyone destroys or alters data making it useless, meaningless or ineffective, can be convicted of an indictable or summary offense. According to Section 430 (5), he or she faces imprisonment up to ten years for an indictable offense, or a summary conviction with the same punishment as mentioned before.


Another computer crime is ‘phreaking’. Phreaking is the action of using mischievous and mostly illegal ways in order to not to pay for some sort of telecommunications bill, order, transfer, or other services. It often involves usage of highly illegal boxes and machines in order to defeat the security that is set up to avoid this sort of happening. Phreaking can also be accomplished by a computer with the correct type of software. There are many methods of phreaking and here we will talk about some of the most popular ones.

Boxing is the use of personally designed boxes that emit or cancel electronically impulses that allow simpler action while phreaking. Through the use of separate boxes, you can accomplish most feats possible with or without the control of an operator. Some boxes and their functions are listed below:

Black Box : Make it seem to the phone company that the phone was never picked up.

Blue Box : Emits a 2600hz tone that allows the phreaker to do such things as stack a trunk line, kick the operator off line, and others.

Red Box : Simulates the noise of a quarter, nickel, or dime being dropped

into a pay-phone.

Cheese Box : Turns a home phone into a pay phone to throw off traces.

(A red box is usually needed in order to call out.)

Beige Box : A simpler produced linesman’s handset that allows the phreaker to tap into phone lines and extract by eavesdropping, or crossing wires, etc.

Purple Box : Makes all calls made out from the house seem to be local calls.

Dialups are any local or 800 extended outlet that allows instant access to any service such as MCI, Sprint, or AT&T that from there it can be used by handpicking or using a program to reveal other peoples codes which can then be used moderately until they find out about it and the phreaker must switch to another code. Dailups are extremely common on both senses. Some dialups reveal the company that operates them as soon as the phreaker hear the tone. When the phreaker call a dialup, he wait for the tone and enter the codes, then he can simply dial the number he want to call without the ‘1′.

Abuses of the public telecommunications network is illegal and it is dealt with in the Criminal Code of Canada. In Section 326 (1)(b), under the heading Theft, the person, can be charged for illegally obtaining any telecommunications service or facility. In Section 327 (1), under the heading Procession of Device to Obtain Telecommunication Facility or Service, if the person sells or distributes any device that is primarily used to obtain telecommunication facility or service without paying, then he or she is guilty of an indictable offense and can be imprisoned up to two years. Finally, in Section 184 (1), anyone that willfully intercepts a private communication is guilty of an indictable offense and is liable to imprisonment for up to five years.


Carding is the illegal use of other people’s credit card to order goods or services. All that is need to successfully use a visa/mc account is the account number itself. People can obtain valid credit card number by searching through the garbage can near a shop. Many shops required customers’ credit card number and driver license when they purchase things from them. A lot of bills with the credit card numbers of the customers are threw away every month and people can get credit card numbers by searching for this bills. Then they can order goods or services with this credit card numbers.


Writing viruses is another kind of computer crime. Today, we have over one thousands viruses unleashed in computer systems around the world. Viruses are life-like, electronically produced, creatures that stay in a computer’s memory banks no matter what application the user may be running. Randomly, they choose when to attack the use or damage files.

Old viruses could usually be identified when something unusual happened within an application, such as a ball bouncing around, a melody playing, rude messages being displayed, letters falling down the screen, and so forth. These viruses show themselves deliberately and were made as practical jokes or frustrate or scare the user. These viruses are somewhat old. Viruses, however, are long-lasting and these types still exist today.

Other viruses attack without letting the user be aware. The add gargle to the end of data files, delete information off hard drives, corrupt important files, and basically move and mismatch crucial data on floppies or hard disks. If these viruses get released on government computers, they can cost billions of dollars of damage.

Viruses usually do any of the above things depending on whether or not they have a time bomb, or a logic bomb. A time bomb is when the virus checks for a specific time to attack. Some viruses like Friday the 13th. A logic bomb is when a virus checks specific memory location for a certain value. This type of virus bomb can trigger every few seconds or in months. Viruses do not usually do as much damage as they can. Someone could program a virus to damage data every nanosecond, but rather than ruin one person’s complete software, programmers of these viruses rather make the virus spread and ruin small data off many computers.

More recent viruses put themselves in the operating system or the boot tracks of a diskette so they can be invoked as soon as the computers are turned on. Theses is actually a virus which sometimes even prevents the user to fully load the operating system. Viruses change instructions within these executable files, so that when they run, a call is sent to the virus instructions appending to the file, and the returned to the original file commands.

Virus programmers are actually very intelligent in their ideas and thoughts on these life emulating creature. If a virus has contaminated an application, not only is that application affected, but others may be as well. Because a virus resides within a computer’s memory banks, after an application. Due to the fact, if a virus is on a floppy disk, and that disk is shared with other computers, there is a great possibility that the virus will have infected the other computer’s files as well.

Viruses can be transferred from computer to computer and are a great threat to those who use computer telecommunications. If a bulletin board system (BBS) gets a virus, all users who log on this BBS on the telephone line and download files from them will also get the virus.

Viruses are advancing in smarts. Some scientists say that they are a good imitation of life. Scientists think that this artificial life may actually benefit society in learning about biology and the study of living things. They are trying to use biological laws to create artificial life on computers.

Software Piracy

Software piracy is “the unauthorized copying of programs protected by copyright.”[3] This is a common offense. It can range from copying a copyrighted program for personal use to actually selling copies of the original copyrighted program for a profit. This crime costs the programmers and publishers billions of dollars a year. Copy-protection and password protection schemes have been implemented to curb this crime. This crime costs the programmers and publishers billions of dollars a year. Copy-protection and password protection schemes have been implemented to curb this crime. This crime is dealt with under the Criminal Code of Canada. In Section 387, under the heading Fraudulent Sale of Real Property, anyone selling unregistered software is guilty of an indictable offense and can be imprisoned for a term up to two years.

Furthermore, since computer technology is advancing so rapidly, the laws must also change to accommodate them. In 1988, Bill C-60 (Copyright Act of 1988) was introduced. It deals with nine issues, “including protection for computer program as literary works, exhibition rights for visual artists, the abolition of compulsory licenses for sound recordings, increased criminal sanctions for commercial piracy, extension of the collective exercise of copyright and the establishment of a new Copyright Board.”[4] Concerning computer crimes, it made pirating of software illegal. Under this Act, anyone selling, trading, or distributing copyrighted software is committing a crime. If the court decides that the person is guilty of a summary conviction, he or she can be fined up to $25 000, or an imprisonment term of up to six months, or both. If the court decides that the person is guilty of an indictable offense, then he or she can be fined up to one million or imprisoned for up to five years or both.

Hacking, phreaking, carding, and software piracy are all types of computer crimes. These crimes are all dealt with in the Criminal Code of Canada and in Acts such as the Copyright Act of 1988. It is the responsibility of the courts to interpret and apply the laws.

They decide whether the offense is indictable or a summary. If the offense is serious then the person is guilty of an indictable offense and is subjected to greater punishments. Consequently, with the rapid change in computer technology, the emergence of new computer crimes is inevitable. However, the ever present rule of law will always stay intact.

[1] Robert L. Perry, Computer Crime (New York : Groller Company, 1986), p.2

[2] Ibid, p.59

[3] Ibid., p.960

[4] Lillian MacPherson, Creators’ Right vs Users’ Need (Edmonton : Legal Resource Centre), p.7


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