• Abstract
  • Definition
    Nature of Crimes
    Fighting Crime
  • Policy
  • Prevention
  • Detection
  • Measuring
    Crimes of the Future
  • Information Theft
  • Cyber-Terrorism
    Pop Culture




  • There are numerous statistics on computer crime running around, some drastically different from each other. These variations are caused by differences in the estimated universality of breakins and violations. However, because detecting computer crime is so difficult, it is impossible to extricate a discussion on detection from statistics on prevalence. Thus, we present both these issues, intertwined.

    Several factors make computer crime difficult to address. Lawbreakers have integrated highly technical methods with traditional crimes and developed creative new types of crime, as well. They use computers to cross state and national boundaries electronically, thus complicating investigations. Moreover, the evidence of these crimes is neither physical nor human but, if it exists, is little more than electronic impulses and programming codes.

    In a significant number of cases where computer thefts occur, viruses are introduced so the theft is not detected. The caveat to investigators is to look for evidence of thefts whenever a virus is introduced via network or modem access. Hackers often try to destroy any evidence of their presence and their crime and make it harder to detect and investigate a theft or intrusion by introducing a virus. Essentially, the criminals intend the virus to provide a smoke screen for their invasion of the computer. Small account balance errors in computer files also serve as good indicators that someone has tampered with the accounts. In a rush to commit the crime, the perpetrator is more likely to make small--rather than large--errors and miss them.