Nigeria And The Challenges Of Cyber Crime-Part 2

                         1.2    The New Creative Class The New creative class is like the Managerial Class of the 1950s, they are the norm-setting class of the present era …

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                       1.2    The New Creative Class

The New creative class is like the Managerial Class of the 1950s, they are the norm-setting class of the present era – applying and using technology. The growth of the Internet’s now most-infamous component, the World Wide Web, has been even more spectacular. With more than 700 million users worldwide and a growth rate of 15 percent per month, it is being integrated into the marketing, information and communications strategies of almost every major corporation, educational institution, charitable and political organization, community service agency and government entity in the United States.

 

A brief study of electronic history demonstrates that no previous advance, not the telephone, television, cable or satellite TV, the VCR, the facsimile machine or the mobile telephone, has penetrated public consciousness and secured such widespread public adoption as rapid as the Internet.

 

The questions that many people are now asking are concerned with determining where this phenomenon will ultimately lead. Predictions range from so-called electronic “virtual communities,” in which individuals interact socially with like-minded Internet users around the world, to fully networked dwellings in which electronic devices and other appliances respond to the spoken commands of residents

1.3          The Magnitude of the Challenge

On March 28, 2000, testifying in Washington, D.C. on Cybercrime Issues and Challenges before the Senate Committee on Judiciary – Subcommittee for the Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information Louis J. Freeh, Director Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said:

“Our case load is increasing dramatically.  In Year 1998, we opened 547 computer intrusion cases; in FY 1999, that had jumped to 1154.  At the same time, because of the opening the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) in February 1998, and our improving ability to fight cyber crime, we closed more cases.  In Year 1998, we closed 399 intrusion cases, and in Year 1999, we closed 912 such cases.  However, given the exponential increase in the number of cases opened, cited above, our actual number of pending cases has increased by 39%, from 601 at the end of Year 1998, to 834 at the end of Year 1999.  In short, even though we have markedly improved our capabilities to fight cyber intrusions, the problem is growing even faster.“

Reliable studies on IT security breach reveal that ninety percent of respondents detected security breaches in 2005.  At least 74 percent of respondents reported security breaches including theft of proprietary information, financial fraud, system penetration by outsiders, data or network sabotage, or denial of service attacks.  Information theft and financial fraud caused the most severe financial losses, put at $68 million and $56 million respectively. 

The losses from 273 respondents totaled just over $265 million.  For example, losses traced to denial of service attacks were only $77,000 in 1998, and by 1999 had risen to just $116,250.  Further, the new survey reports on numbers taken before the high-profile February attacks against Yahoo, Amazon and eBay,.  Finally, many companies are experiencing multiple attacks; 19% of respondents reported 10 or more incidents.

Over the past several years the world has witnessed a sea of computer crimes ranging from defacement of websites by juveniles to sophisticated intrusions that are suspected to be sponsored by third parties. 

Some of these are obviously more significant than others. 

  • The theft of national security information from a government agency or the interruption of electrical power to a major metropolitan area have greater consequences for national security, public safety, and the economy than the defacement of a web-site. 
  • But even the less serious categories have real consequences and, ultimately, can undermine confidence in e-commerce and violate privacy or property rights. 
  • A website hack that shuts down an e-commerce site can have disastrous consequences for a business. 
  • An intrusion that results in the theft of credit card numbers from an online vendor can result in significant financial loss and, more broadly, reduce consumers’ willingness to engage in e-commerce. 

Because of these implications, it is critical that we have in place the programs and resources to investigate and, ultimately, to deter these sorts of crimes.

2.0    The Nature of the Problem – Crime of the new millennium.

Identity theft has been referred to by some as the crime of the new millennium. It can be accomplished anonymously, easily, with a variety of means, and the impact upon the victim can be devastating. Identity theft is simply the theft of identity information such as a name, date of birth, Social Security number (SSN), or a credit card number.

 

The mundane activities of a typical consumer during the course of a regular day may provide tremendous opportunities for an identity thief: purchasing gasoline, meals, clothes, or tickets to an athletic event; renting a car, a video, or home-improvement tools; purchasing gifts or trading stock on-line; receiving mail; or taking out the garbage or recycling. Any activity in which identity information is shared or made available to others creates an opportunity for identity theft.

Victims of identity theft often do not realize they have become victims until they attempt to obtain financing on a home or a vehicle. Only then, when the lender tells them that their credit history makes them ineligible for a loan, do they realize something is terribly wrong. When they review their credit report, they first become aware of credit cards for which they have never applied, bills long overdue, unfamiliar billing addresses, and inquiries from unfamiliar creditors. Even if they are able to identify the culprit, it may take months or years, tremendous emotional anguish, many lost financial opportunities, and large legal fees, to clear up their credit history.

2.1    How Does Identity Theft Occur?

Identity theft occurs in many ways, ranging from careless sharing of personal information, to intentional theft of purses, wallets, mail, or digital information. In public places, for example, thieves engage in “shoulder surfing” watching you from a nearby location as you punch in your telephone calling card number or credit card number or listen in on your conversation if you give your credit card number over the telephone. Inside your home, thieves may obtain information from your personal computer while you are on-line and they are anonymously sitting in the comfort of their own home.

 

Outside your home, thieves steal your mail, garbage, or recycling. Outside medical facilities or businesses, thieves engage in “dumpster diving” going through garbage cans, large dumpsters, or recycling bins to obtain identity information which includes credit or debit card receipts, bank statements, medical records like prescription labels, or other records that bear your name, address, or telephone number.

 

In August 1999, President Clinton established an interagency Working Group on Unlawful Conduct on the Internet.  Executive Order 13,133 directed the Working Group, under the leadership of the Attorney General, to prepare a report with recommendations on:

    –The extent to which existing federal laws provide a sufficient basis for effective investigation and prosecution of unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet;

 

    —The extent to which new technology tools, capabilities, or legal authorities may be required for effective investigation and prosecution of unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet;  and

    –The potential for new or existing tools and capabilities to educate and empower parents, teachers, and others to prevent or to minimize the risks from unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet.

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