Research report on computer misuse

Introduction:

The association of police force chiefs England and Wales [fictitious group] wanted a research report on the computer misuse. This group is unable to meet the challenges of e-crime due to the continuous growth of crimes in the world of computers. This report includes the investigation about the computer misuse, a study on the computer misuse act. It describes different categories of computer misuse. Gives a report on why the computer misuse act is unable to stop the continuous growth in the computer crimes. The report also includes the assessment on computer misuse act and the suggestions to the fictitious groups to prevent the crimes of computer misuse.

Computer misuse:

Computer and internet availability is not a big issue now. Most of the people try to misuse the computer resources. Some willing misuse the computer and some people unknowingly misuse the law. Mentioned below are the categories of computer misuse.

  • Computer hacking:
  • Computer hacking is a technique of taking access over the unpermitted network or modem or other devices and the internet. The hackers usually try to grant admittance to the passwords and several different security sites in order to view the confidential information. There some tools used for hacking the sites.

  • Exploitation of the data, unconstitutional relocation of the data or photocopying:
  • The information available in the internet is copied through various sources like hard disks, DVDs and pen drives. These types of informal moving of data are done simply with the use of the internet connections. Without having copy rights to access the personal information, research work of any company and novels, books written by the author's one cannot copy the information, but using some illegal techniques they gain access over this information.

  • Distribution of the copied software's, movies and music:
  • The software, movies and music is illegally copied without the copy right and they are distributed all over. This can be called as piracy. They do not follow the laws and copy the material without taking permission from the copyright holders.

  • Abusing people through chat rooms and emails:
  • Emails, chat rooms are used by some people who simply intend to disturb other individuals. The create email ids with improper identifications and spread news and rumors about famous personalities. They abuse people using chat rooms, they send spam mails to millions of people to market the goods and services that can be sometime legal, but many a times those which are illegal.

  • Pornography:
  • Pornography is an illegal activity, and this type offensive stuff is exists on the internet and people store and keep this stuff in an electronic form. This kind of stuff has been declared illegal as they show all the illegal activities.

  • Financial abuses and identities
  • In this category, come the misuse of stolen credit cards and the fantastic numbers of the credit cards in order to purchase online products and service. They perform illegal transaction of money from one account to other. A financial abuse also includes printing of unauthorized currencies using color printers.

  • Virus:

Virus is a software program written for causing damage and nuisance to the computers or files.

Computer misuse act:

In United Kingdom, one of the significant and distinguished policies imposed by the government legislation to avoid the issue related with hacking of computers and virus programs that were being generated for destroying the files was the "Computer Misuse Act (1990). And it was commenced from September 1st (1990). This act included three crimes, they are:

  • The crime of unauthorized access
  • The crime with hidden intents of disruptions.
  • The crime of unauthorized modifications

To provide security to the online users and to protect the confidential information from the people who misuse the computer is called as the Computer Misuse Act. The faults under this act are the computer hacking, Exploitation of the data, unconstitutional relocation of the data or photocopying, Abusing people through chat rooms and emails Pornography, Financial abuses and identities and producing virus software's.

Un-permitted admittance to the computer system to make alterations in the computer programs, and other activities like changing the passwords of the systems and other type of setting that can cause inconvenience to the users, and preventing them to access their own systems is considered as a crime under the computer misuse act.

Under the act of computer misuse, it is considered as crime to get admittance to the system or even if some try to take admittance without proper endorsement. Hence under this act if the hacker try to use the system and even though he his unsuccessful in his act, he will be found guilty.

Using the email ids, chats and other similar services of other persons and causing obstinate harm to the system is a severe crime under this act. But to prove these crimes is not an easy task. This act also considers the use of only a several parts of the system and if someone uses the other parts of the system then it will be a crime because they are not authorized to use them.

Distribution of the copied software's, movies and music is not included under the computer misuse act but it is declared as a crime by several other legislations.

If someone breaks the computer misuse act he has to either pay penalties or he can be imprisoned.

Break of law:

According to [Peter Somer, 29 November 2005], Daniel Cutherbert was a software tester and in October 2005, he performed an illegal activity and got admittance to the website of tsunami charitable trust. He made a visit to the website and donated some 30 to the charity but due to the unsatisfying response from the website and the poorly designed graphics, he did not get a quick response from the site about his donation, and he became anxious to know what's actually going on. To check whether his donation got accepted or not he tried an abortive test of directory traversal and got some relief. But this test created a disruption in the disruption alarm and was found guilty as using that test was against the law. He was arrested by the police. During his assessment the defense group support Cutherbert that his intentions were not provide any harm to the website, or perform any illegal activity. Being a software tester he just used his skills to test the website and there is nothing wrong in using these tools. But the prosecution team opposed the defense team saying that he must be aware that using the traversal directory is against the law and willingly he did the crime. The court accepted the declaration of the prosecution.

Another such case, Young boy was left free from the court of Wimbledon, though he accepted in the court that he has used a software program called as mail-bomber in order to overflow the mail server of a well known insurance firm. After that crime he was even thrown out of the company. He produced some 5 million emails, but when he was suspected and arrested by the police, his defense team saying that every email sent to the email server was official otherwise the email would not get accepted, and there is no condition where all the 5 million emails can at once turn into unofficial emails.

The above chart of computer crime in England and Wales shows the computer crime reported in the year of 2006, 2007, 2008 in the different categories of computer crime.

This chart shows how computer crime is increasing day by day. If we analyze each category one by one in year wise we get:

  1. Identity fraud is decreased in 2007 over 2006 but a tremendous increase is recorded in 2008. There is a decrease of 2,200 cases in 2007 where as 7,300 cases increased in 2008.
  2. Financial fraud is also decreased by 4,000 in 2007 but increased by 3,300 in 2008.
  3. Online harassment increased in 2007 by 134,000 but decreased by 296,000 cases in the year of 2008.
  4. Computer misuse cases are decreased by 4,800 in the year of 2007 and tremendous increase in the year of 2008 by 11,700.
  5. Sexual offences are increasing day by day as continuous increment is recorded in the year of 2007 as well as in 2008 also. In 2007 it was increased by 7,800 and in 2008 it was increased by 232,500.

All the figures show that there is a slight decrement is measured in the computer misuse in the year of 2007 over 2006 and 2008 over 2007. Here it is noticeable that the decrement is shown in the overall computer crime but if we analyze it category wise then we consider that there are a lot of crime category which is increasing very rapidly and the police force have to work on the category basis so that the reason of the specific crime, and the tactics of the crime can be easily recognized and take strong measures against the accused.

Need for the improvement in the Computer Misuse Act:

Even though the government has imposed the Computer misuse Act, the laws of the act are not followed strictly by the people. But that is not the actual problem there the problem is with research on security that is existing today. The issue with security on computers is a critical issue and finding solutions for this issue is not at an easy job. This task cannot be accomplished by a single individual or an organization. This act does not permit the researchers from Britain to participate in the community of universal security.

From the study that is being done so far, in order to avoid to stay away from the computer misuse act, each of the software tool that is made applicable in the market should be informed with a notice and a confirmation signature to make people understand that the tool is legal or illegal for the use. Who is permitted to use it and who is not permitted to use it? And at any cost people should not aim at breaking the act of computer misuse act.

But the fact is that any act or law cannot stop the manufacturing and distribution of the tools and information that is offensive. Activities of this kind are performed in a hidden technique somewhere underground locations. The only way to help the computer misuse act is to mainly concentrate on the prosecution team, that is prosecute should have the ability to prove the crime those who are arrested for performing the crime and should be severely punished so that other individuals do not dare of performing any crime.

Conclusion:

According to the above research on the computer misuse, it is quite difficult to avoid these types of crime. As computer is now being the part of each person's life and it plays a vital role in the daily life. Internet was introduced to make the life easy but it is now becoming a way of income for criminals. But this is not a reason to give up and stop using internet due to those bad elements. There should be some precautions and awareness needed to fight with this crime. Computer misuse is a global problem and everyone should have to make a joint effort to overcome this.

As internet is used by every country and the accused of computer misuse reported in England and Wales is not necessarily from the England and Wales, means a cyber criminal residing in other countries may also involved in the crime in England and Wales, so it is necessary to work mutually on the computer misuse.

If we start thinking with the criminal's point of view, it is quite difficult to finish computer misuse, because cyber criminals are also aware with the new technologies available in the market, and they always work on it. They try for eternity to break the security walls so that they can do what they want. They are educated professional criminals, so the government of UK, law enforcement officers, security workers and individuals who are using internet also should be conscious about the problem and can follow the following steps, so that the computer misuse can reduce:

Advise to the association:

  • The association should train a special team for this purpose, and provide efficient training to all the team members
  • They should be able to identify the correct locations of the person attempting the crime.
  • Investigation process carried out should be strong and successful
  • People those found guilty should be punished severely and their offence should be proved by the prosecution team.
  • The associations working on should be aware of every new technology and they all should be skilled officers.

References:

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/ict/legal/1dataandcomputermisuserev1.shtml
  2. http://www.lancs.ac.uk/iss/governance/rules/cmisuse.htm
  3. http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/01/13/231580/Changes-to-Computer-Misuse-Act-will-turn-security-professionals-into.htm
  4. http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2005/11/29/213154/cases-show-reform-of-
  5. STATIONX, Computer Crime & Misuse, Computer Misuse Act 1990 (CMA 1990)
  6. computer-misuse-act-is-essential-if-it-is-to-be-fair-and.htm
  7. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/16_07_09_bcs.pdf

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