Computer Crime on the Internet
Cyber crime is a term used for attacks on the cyber security infrastructure of business organizations that can have several goals. One goal pursued by criminals is to gain unauthorized access to the target’s sensitive information. Most businesses are vitally dependent on their proprietary information, including new product information, employment records, price lists and sales figures. According to Gallaher et al. (2008), an attacker may derive direct economic benefits from gaining access to and/or selling such information, or may inflict damage on an organization by impacting upon it. Once access has been attained, attackers can not only extract and use or sell confidential information, they can also modify or delete sensitive information, resulting in significant consequences for their targets.
Cyber crime is any crime committed over a computer network. Cyber crime is not limited to outside attacks. The most common type of cyber criminals, according to Nykodym et al. (2005), is occurring within their own walls. However, most of these crime types are innocent and petty. Examples include reading newspapers online, following sporting events while at work, or gambling online. Most of the perpetrators are between 30 and 35 years old. Some of the crime types are serious, for example theft.
Persons over 35 years do the most damage.
Click fraud occurs when an individual or computer program fraudulently clicks on an online ad without any intention of learning more about the advertiser or making a purchase. When you click on an ad displayed by a search engine, the advertiser typically pays a fee for each click, which is supposed to direct potential buyers to its product. Click fraud has become a serious problem at Google and other web sites that feature pay-per-click online advertising. Some companies hire third parties (typically from low-wage countries) to fraudulently click on a competitor’s ads to weaken them by driving up their marketing costs. Click fraud can also be perpetrated with software programs doing the clicking (Pickett and Pickett, 2002).
Computer crime is classified as financial crime (Fletcher, 2007). Financial crime can be defined as crime against property, involving the unlawful conversion of property belonging to another to one’s own personal use and benefit. Financial crime is sometimes labeled economic crime (Larsson, 2006). Financial crime is profit-driven crime to gain access to and control over property that belonged to someone else. Pickett and Pickett (2002) define financial crime as the use of deception for illegal gain, normally involving breach of trust, and some concealment of the true nature of the activities. They use the terms financial crime, white-collar crime, and fraud interchangeably.
The term financial crime expresses different concepts depending on the jurisdiction and the context. Nevertheless, Henning (2009) argues that financial crime generally describes a variety of crimes against property, involving the unlawful conversion of property belonging to another to one's own personal use and benefit, more often than not involving fraud but also bribery, corruption, money laundering, embezzlement, insider trading, tax violations, cyber attacks and the like. Criminal gain for personal benefit seems to be one of the core characteristics of financial crime.
Financial crime often involves fraud. Financial crime is carried out via check and credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, medical fraud, corporate fraud, bank account fraud, payment (point of sale) fraud,
currency fraud, and health care fraud, and they involve acts such as insider trading, tax violations, kickbacks, embezzlement, identity theft, cyber attacks, money laundering, and social engineering. Embezzlement and theft of labor union property and falsification of union records used to facilitate or
conceal such larcenies remain the most frequently prosecuted Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act offences in the US (Toner, 2009).
Financial crime sometimes, but not always, involves criminal acts such as elder abuse, armed robbery, burglary, and even murder. Victims range from individuals to institutions, corporations, governments and entire economies. Interpol (2009) argues that financial and high-tech crimes – currency counterfeiting, money laundering, intellectual property crime, payment card fraud, computer virus attacks and cyber-terrorism, for example – can affect all levels of society. Computer crime is classified as a sub category of manipulation as a main category. Manipulation can be defined as a means of gaining illegal control or influence over others' activities, means and results. In addition to this direct kind of computer crime, we find indirect forms of computer crime, where computer technology is an important element of the crime. By defining computer crime as financial crime and sometimes even as white-collar crime, as discussed below, we focus on the profit-orientation of such crime. This definition excludes incidents of computer crime to cause damage without a gain. Even if malware infection, hacking and other incidents are frequently reported in the popular press (Hagen et al., 2008), these kinds of computer crime are only of interest here if they have a profit motive. Computer crime is here profit-driven crime to gain access to and control over property that belonged to someone else.
Profit-driven crime by criminals should be understood mainly in economic rather than sociological or criminological terms. In an attempt to formulate a general theory of profit-driven crime, Naylor (2003) proposed a typology that shifts the focus from actors to actions by distinguishing between market crime, predatory crime, and commercial crime. The theory of profit-driven crime for white-collar crime suggests that financial crimes are opportunity driven, where executives and managers identify opportunities for illegal gain. Opportunity is a flexible characteristic of financial crime and varies depending on the type of criminals involved (Michel, 2008).