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What is Cyber Crime?
People make purchases, form intimate relationships, and perform personal business on-line everyday; unwittingly providing criminals who operate from a computer (cyber criminals) the chance to perpetrate cyber crime (financial and intellectual fraud or theft, as well as acts which can lead to harm or death of a person's reputation, emotional state, or physical life). Read on to find out more about the most infamous cybercrime cases and cyber criminals.
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Phone phreaks and national security
Kevin Mitnick and Kevin Poulsen both make the dirty dozen cyber crime list and share more than a first name: they both started as phone phreaks (those who use codes to manipulate phone systems so they can call long distance on your dime; not theirs). And, they both hacked their way into restricted areas - the Pentagon for Mitnick (who was a juvenile at the time), earning him a mere six-month wrist slap; the federal law enforcement’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for Poulsen - earning him a 51-month prison term. Mitnick eventually went on to earn his adult criminal sentence too, pulling down 68 months in prison for lifting 20,000 credit card numbers, as well as source codes, from Apple Computer.
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Cyber crime serial killer
The first cyber serial killer, John Edward Robinson, also makes the dirty dozen cyber crime list. Robinson’s sexual perversions eventually led him to seek his murder victims (approximately eight women) through on-line chat rooms, where he was role-playing as the ‘slave master,’ and he also used the computer for financial scams he perpetrated as well.
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Sexual deviants in on-line chat rooms
Like Robinson, Scott W. Tyree also surfed the chat rooms on the net looking for his victims, eventually finding a 13-year-old girl whom he kidnapped and transported across state lines. Sexual deviant Franz Konstantine Baehring, a pedophile and recognized member of an organized child pornography ring, also makes the dirty dozen cyber crime list with his abduction of a 15-year-old girl that he met on-line (also through a chat room), managing to get out of the country with her - and all the way to Greece - before finally being apprehended.
Liam Youens, only 20-years-old, used his computer to gain personal information to stalk; not abduct his victim. But Youen introduced us to the fact that our computer data wasn’t as secure as we thought, since he was able to kill the woman he was obsessed with as she traveled home from work because he had learned her work address on-line. Another such predator and ‘dirty dozen cyber crime’ list maker, Gary Dellapenta, took stalking to a dangerous level too; he tried to motivate computer chat room users to go and rape his stalking victim by impersonating her in the chat rooms (he pretended to be a woman who fantasized about being raped, providing readers with the name and address of his intended victim).
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Women commit cyber crime
Diana Napolis also made the dirty dozen cyber crime list and even escaped consequences of her stalking activities on-line (against Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Love Hewitt), due to her eventual commitment to a mental hospital for three years. Another woman, Sonya Furlow, stooped to an all-time low by using the computer to provide false adoption hope to many couples, robbing them of their money as she played on their dreams of gaining a child.
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Cyber crime, eBay, Yahoo! and Citibank
Jay Nelson, the guy who swindled 1,700 eBay and Yahoo! bidders out of the merchandise they thought they were buying - and the hard-earned money they paid for it - also makes the list, his six and a half year prison sentence ending this year in ’09. Victims of such scams today can contact cybercrime.gov for help.
But Nelson is small potatoes compared to Vladimir Levin, the Internet’s first bank robber. Levin, a grad student in Russia, cracked the security at Citibank and made off like a bandit to the tune of 3.7 million. Citibank was able to recover only $240,015 of their money and Levin’s three years of prison time was a wake-up to other banks about the need for better Internet security.
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Cyber crime hackers and Face book
Lastly, and similar to the recently announced phishing cyber crime perpetrated on Facebook users just this week (Hackers launch Face book phishing attack), John Zuccarini makes the dirty dozen cyber crime list for his actions in luring Internet users to fake web sites, which he created to resemble legitimate ones (but for defrauding purposes, of course).