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How Does Cyber Crime Happen?

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 8/23/2010

How does cyber crime happen? This is a question every computer user asks themselves as some point. To learn the answer, read on.

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    Cyber Crime

    Cyber crime can be simply defined as a type of crime committed via the internet. These crimes can be committed against property, persons, or government. No one is exempt from becoming a victim, but understanding how cyber crimes happen can help to avoid falling victim to one. So, how does cyber crime happen?

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    Access Point Attacks

    All networks have a weak spot, and some have several. Identifying and knowing where these weak spots are can help you determine the possible access points for attack. These weak spots are where hackers will enter a network when they target it. Some of the common access points that are attacked include:

    • Unpatched or outdated network software.
    • Obvious, old, or weak passwords.
    • Security that is poorly defined or not well-defined.
    • Having hosts running services that are unnecessary or not secured, such as FTP.
    • Having firewalls with several holes.
    • Having information leaked through finger, telnet, gopher, and other similar services.
    • Software being installed on a network without approval of the Information Systems department.
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    Negligence

    How Does Cyber Crime Happen Sometimes people are simply negligent with their confidential information. Activities such as using public computers, saving passwords, and writing down passwords, can give a criminal access to confidential information. They will take advantage of this information to obtain, forge, and manipulate information.

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    Confidential Information

    The confidential information from financial institutes, scientific databases, governmental organizations, security firms, and even home computer networks is stored on networks and online. This allows criminals to use it for personal gain after they initiate unauthorized access. Firewalls can be bypassed and complex technology manipulated, resulting in cyber criminals gaining access to bank and financial accounts, security codes and passwords, and other confidential information.

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    Putting Your Life on the Internet

    With the new age of social networking, more and more people are sharing every aspect of their lives on the internet. This makes them vulnerable to cyber crime. When cyber crime does happen due to this type of activity, the types involve:

    • Child pornography
    • Fraud
    • Harassment
    • Cyber-bullying
    • Stalking
    • Identity theft
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    Viruses, Trojans, and Worms

    When asking, how does cyber crime happen, few think of viruses, trojans, and worms, though most people are familiar with these. These programs can do a wide variety of damage, from simply be annoying to stealing a person's information or even completely destroying a computer network.

    A worm is a type of harmful program that makes several copies of itself. It can copy itself from using an email or a similar mode of transport, or copy itself from one disk drive to a different one. Worms can compromise the security and significantly damage a computer.

    A virus is a type of code or harmful program that replicates and/or infects another partition sector, program, document, or boot sector that supports macros through attaching itself or inserting itself to that medium. Many viruses can cause significant damage to a computer.

    A Trojan Horse is a type of harmful program that neither copies itself or replicates itself, but compromises the security or causes damage to a computer. In most cases, a Trojan Horse is sent via email, and when opened or downloaded, it infects the computer.

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    Resources

    Computer Crime Research Center. (2002). Cyber Crime – It Could Happen to You. Retrieved on August 22, 2010 from the Computer Crime Research Center: http://www.crime-research.org/library/cyber5.htm

    Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2010). Cyber Investigations. Retrieved on August 22, 2010 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation: http://www.fbi.gov/cyberinvest/cyberhome.htm

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    Image Credits

    Linux Login: railking – sxc.hu