Crime is an unlawful act that goes against societal expectations and rules and is set down by a group of people to govern their coexistence. With the onslaught of technological advancement, particularly the inception of computers, crime has been pushed to a new level and it is no longer strange to hear of the cases of digital crime. Digital crime, or cybercrime as it is widely known, is the commission of crimes by the use of computers or through the cyberspace. It may involve slander or other means of depicting a person, an institution or a nation in a bad light and contrary to the true state of affairs for malicious or some other purpose (Parker 1983). It has proved a thorn in the flesh of security officers, the authority, the government and other stakeholders as it is one of the most difficult types of crime to bring under control. There are different categories of cybercrime and the variation is made according to different criteria.
For the moment, there have been identified four different categories of computer crimes. The first type is the one in which the computer is the target. In this type of computer crime, the criminals use information and data stored in the computer (Casey 2011). This entails stealing someone’s work, and it could be a writer or an editor. This type of computer crime includes not only theft of intellectual property, but also identity theft in which a person’s identity details are taken up by the second party (the criminal) and used for the criminal’s benefit.
The second type of computer crime is the crime which uses the computer as the instrument of committing a criminal act. In this form of computer crime, the criminals, armed with the prior information on the codes or the programs, set up specific software, which corrupts the system of the computer, and thereby manipulate it (Reyes 2007). With the computer programs corrupted, the criminals can go ahead and feed their instructions to the computer enabling the computer to perform different actions. This form of cybercrime has been used particularly in stealing from individuals and the banks through the automated teller machines (ATM).
In the third type of computer crime, the computer is incidental and not directly related to the crime. In this form of computer crime, the computer is used not necessary in order for the crime to occur. However, the technology obtained from the use of computers enables the criminals to conduct their crimes faster and with greater ease (Casey 2011). In addition, it makes the crime almost impossible to identify and the criminals difficult to trace. This type of crime is prevalent in banking crimes, particularly money laundering. Money laundering is a crime in which a person keeps away money (which in most cases is illegally obtained) in a foreign or local account but under the guise of someone else.
A crime associated with the popularity of computers is the fourth type of computer crime. It involves devising counterfeit products and selling them as the original products. Further, it may involve copyright infringement in which the copyright privileges and policies of a company are infringed and their product used against their will (Reyes 2007). This essentially constitutes piracy.
Currently, the biggest challenge in computer crimes comes in the form of using the computer as a target. This type of crime is as elusive as it is detrimental. Through it, criminals can hack into government and institutional accounts presenting the avenue for top-secret information from such sources to the wrong hands. This can lead to war or further acts of terrorism (Parker 1983). The government and law enforcement agencies have been working round the clock to hunt down the perpetrators of computer crimes and further to bring to an end such activities that may cause far-reaching consequences to nations. Nevertheless, more can still be done to make this a reality. The government should ensure that top-secret documents are guarded using foolproof software applications. Further, in case of file access breach, there should be a program that initiates a self-destruct process in case the files fall in the wrong hands. The court systems should also give stiffer penalties and harsher sentences to hackers and other people involved in computer crimes. This will serve to deter them and others who might have similar intent.
|Resolution of Public International Law Disputes||Crime|