Internet Crime and Moral Responsibility

Topics: Fraud, Identity theft, Credit card Pages: 9 (3351 words) Published: June 2, 2006
Internet Crime and Moral Responsibility

Internet Crime and Moral Responsibility3
What is Internet Crime?3
Types of Crimes3
Child Pornography4
Cyber Stalking5
Computer Intrusion5
Denial of Service Attacks and Cyber War5
Identity Theft6
Whose responsibility is it to report these crimes?7
Reporting agencies8

Internet Crime and Moral Responsibility

The Internet is the technological genius of the computer age. Although the Internet is a phenomenal tool, providing access to the world, it has also become a Shangri-La for criminals. The Internet because of the ability to remain anonymous is the perfect playground for this type of mayhem. This paper will outline the types of crimes that are being committed via the Internet, it will explain how to protect yourself and your computer against these crimes and then it will focus on why we are morally obligated to report these crimes to the appropriate authorities and how to accomplish this. What is Internet Crime?

The National White Collar Crime Center defines Internet Crime as the use of a computer to break the law (Beresford 2003). There are two categories of computer crime: Internet crime and Computer-related crime. Computer-related crimes are those crimes that attack the content of operating systems, networks and specific programs. The attacks usually include unauthorized access, sabotage to the system, acquisition of data without the users' knowledge or permission and hijacking a computer or service. Internet crimes include phishing, viruses, Trojans and Denial of service attacks, password theft, website defacement, etc. Types of Crimes

Phishing uses spurious email addresses and fraudulent websites to give email recipients the idea that the email is legitimate. Often the receiver will give out personal financial information such as credit card numbers, usernames and passwords or even worse, a social security number without realizing that the email was not legitimate. The emails that are sent out are made to look as though they came from the recipient's bank, retailer or credit card provider, and unsuspecting or unaware recipients will assume that if they do not provide this information their account will be closed or their information will be in jeopardy. Unfortunately, at least 5% of recipients respond to the fake emails, causing increasing numbers of identity theft cases, credit card fraud and sometimes, financial loss or even ruin (APWG 2004a). It is estimated that there were 1,142 active reported phishing sites in October 2004, up from 584 sites reported in July 2004 that is nearly a 50 percent increase. This number increased 25 percent over the previous three months. Surprisingly, the United States is the source of the most phishing websites. Phishing site owners frequently use just an IP address (APWG 2004b). It is estimated that in October 2004 there were over 6,597 unique phishing emails reported to APWG, up from 2,625 unique emails in July, an increase of 36 percent (APWG 2004c). Many times the phishing emails are disguised with embedded image maps, buttons, and links that look as though they are being redirected to a "marketing partner" site. The most widely targeted companies are financial institutions with ISP services being the next most popular targets. Retail markets and other sites are the least targeted sectors. This demonstrates that there is big money in targeting the financial industry because this allows access to accounts and credit card information, potentially causing financial ruin to unaware customers. One reason for educating computer users on phishing frauds is that the average online time for a phishing site is 6.4 days and a few have been online for as long as 31 days. By educating computer users, and teaching them how to report these fictitious emails, users will eventually help reduce the number of online time the average site exists...

References: Anti-Phishing Working Group (2004). Phishing Attack Trends Report for October 2004. Retrieved November 18, 2004 from
Beresford A. D., Mason D., and Haantz, S. (2003). "True" Internet Crime. National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). Retrieved November 24, 2004 from
Denning, D. (1990). Concerning Hackers Who Break into Computer Systems. Retrieved November 20, 2004 from
Department of Justice – DOJ. (2000) Identity Theft and Fraud. Retrieved November 17, 2004 from
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2003). Online Child Pornography Innocent Images National Initiative. Retrieved November 25, 2004 from
Federal Trade Commission. (2003). Sentinal Top Complaint Categories. Retrieved November 24, 2004 from
PBS. (2003) Interview with Richard Clarke. Cyber War. Frontline. Retrieved November 17, 2004 from
PBS. (2003). Cyber War. Frontline. Retrieved November 17, 2003 from
Williams, P. (2001) Russian organized crime, Russian hacking, and US Security. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). Retrieved November 20, 2004 from
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