Types of Computer Crimes

Computer crimes consist of situations where computers are used as a tool to plan or commit the crime; or situations where a computer or a network is the victim of the crime.

The most common types of computer crimes:

  • Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
  • Password theft
  • Network invasions
  • Emanation eavesdropping
  • Social engineering
  • Unlawful content, such as child pornography
  • Fraud
  • Software piracy
  • Dumpster diving
  • Malicious code
  • Spoofing of IP addresses
  • Information warfare, which is a barrage on the information infrastructure of a nation and could include attacks on military or government networks, communication systems, power grids, and financial organizations
  • Espionage
  • Destruction or the alteration of information
  • Masquerading
  • Embezzlement
  • Use of computers in the planning of terrorism

The Common Law System

There are three principal categories of laws in the legal system, which is referred to as the Common Law system. These categories of laws under the Common Law system are criminal law, civil law, and administrative law, each of which is used to address different circumstances, and levy various penalties upon the perpetrator.

Criminal law serves to sustain social peace and safety and consists of the laws that the police and other law enforcement agencies work with. It includes laws against acts such as murder, assault, robbery, and arson. There are several criminal laws in place to protect society against computer crime, including…

  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
  • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act
  • The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act

These laws are developed by elected representatives who serve in the legislative branch of government and must adhere to the country’s constitution. All laws are open to judicial review by the courts. If a court finds that a law is unconstitutional, it has the power to render it invalid.

Civil law is designed to preserve social order and outlines the laws that govern issues requiring impartial arbitration, such as contract disagreements and real estate transactions. Civil laws also lay the groundwork for the executive branch of government to execute its duties. Like criminal laws, civil laws are put into effect by the elected representatives who serve in the legislative branch of government and are subject to the same constitutional restraints and judicial review procedures.

Administrative law is designed to administer authoritative decisions by outlining procedures to be adhered to within a federal agency. Administrative law is not developed by the legislative branch of government but is declared in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Although administrative law isn’t dependent upon an act of the legislative branch to obtain the force of law, it must be in accordance with all existing civil and criminal laws. Therefore government entities can’t apply laws that challenge existing laws passed by the legislature. Additionally, administrative law must also be in accordance with the country’s constitution and is subject to judicial review.

Other aspects of law within the common law system that pertain to information systems are intellectual property and privacy laws.

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