HISTORY OF CYBERCRIME
HISTORY OF CYBERCRIME
On daily basis we read on the pages of newspaper and on the internet cases of cybercrime in which any one can be a victim. But what exactly is it? The simple answer is, -it is complicated-. It is complicated because there is no end to types of cybercrimes and there are records of new schemes of carrying out the crime. Like traditional crime, cybercrime can take many shapes and can occur nearly anytime or anyplace. Criminals committing cybercrime use a number of methods, depending on their skill-set and their goal. This should not be surprising: cybercrime is, after all, simply -crime’ with some sort of computer or cyber knowledge.
1.1. WHAT IS CYBERCRIME?
The word -cybercrime- does not appear in most dictionaries, (including Microsoft’s online Encarta Dictionary), but that does not mean that the phenomenon does not exist. It is primarily due to the relative newness of this phenomenon that it is difficult to illustrate the earliest incidences of computer crime. As experiences and technology have developed, so also have the definitions of computer crimes or cybercrimes. Historically, in the search for a definition, one argued that since computer crimes may involve all categories of crimes, a definition must emphasize the particularity, the knowledge or the use of computer technology. In the first comprehensive presentation of computer crime, Computer Crime: Criminal Justice Resource Manual (1979), the definition of computer-related crime was defined in the broader meaning as: -any illegal act for which knowledge of computer technology is essential for a successful prosecution-. In a study on the international legal aspects of computer crime in 1983, computer crime was consequently defined as: -encompasses any illegal act for which knowledge of computer technology is essential for its perpetration-. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Recommendations of 1986 included a working definition as a basis for the study: -Computer-related crime is considered as any illegal, unethical or unauthorized behaviour relating to the automatic processing and the transmission of data.- The Council of Europe Recommendation of 1989 adopted a functional approach and computer-related crime was simply described as the offences enumerated and defined in the proposed guidelines or recommendation for national legislators. The Council of Europe Recommendation of 1995 on Criminal Procedural Law has a definition of offences connected with Information Technology (IT offences) as follows: -encompassing any criminal offence, in the investigation of which investigating authorities must obtain access to information being processed or transmitted in computer systems, or electronic data processing systems.- The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime of 2001 defines cybercrime in the Articles 2-10 on substantive criminal law in four different categories: (1) offences against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems; (2) computer-related offences; (3) content-related offences; (4) offences related to infringements of copyright and related rights. It is a minimum consensus list not excluding extensions in domestic law. In the proposal for a European Union Council Framework Decision on Attacks Against Information Systems of 19 April 2002, the Commission also includes a functional definition: -computer-related crime should be understood as including attacks against information systems as defined in this Framework Decision-. Content-related offences, such as copyright infringements, racism, xenophobia and child pornography may, by many observers, normally not be understood to be cybercrimes. Copyright infringements are based upon civil agreements and contracts and are not traditionally criminal offences in many countries. Copyright infringements will very often be enforced through civil remedies due to many complicated issues. Child pornography has always been a criminal offence in the paper-based version. At the Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders, in a workshop devoted to the issues of crimes related to computer networks, cybercrime was broken into two categories and defined as: A. Cybercrime in a narrow sense (computer crime): Any illegal behaviour directed by means of electronic operations that targets the security of computer systems and the data processed by them. B. Cybercrime in a broader sense (computer-related crime): Any illegal behaviour committed by means of, or in relation to, a computer system or network, including such crimes as illegal possession [and] offering or distributing information by means of a computer system or network.
As detractors have rightly pointed out, there is no universally recognised or accepted definition of computer crime. Broadly speaking, however, if an illegal action is committed by the utilisation of information communication technology (ICT), the act is deemed to fall into the category of cybercrime.
1.2. HISTORY OF CYBERCRIME:
Cybercrime has had a short but highly eventful history. Apart from being an interesting study by itself, observing the history of cybercrime would also give the individual and society at large the opportunity to avoid the mistakes made in the past so that appropriate action can also be taken in the future. When did this new and insidious variety of crime actually come into being? One may say that the concept of the computer came with the invention of the first abacus, hence it can be said that -cybercrime- per se has been around ever since people used calculating machines for wrong purposes. However, cybercrime has shown itself as a serious threat to society for less than a decade. Before we plunge into the world of cybercrime, it is necessary to have some basic understanding of how the Internet evolved. The Internet essentially is a giant network that is composed of thousands of smaller networks. It consists of all the computers, telephone lines, and other communications devices that hold the smaller networks together. It is an infrastructure that supports the transmission of electronic data. The development of the Internet didn’t happen overnight. It began in the Cold War days of the Eisenhower Administration. The Eisenhower Administration, like the rest of the United States during the 1950s, was preoccupied with the Soviet Union. So in October 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik , the U.S. government responded. The response came with the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in 1958 . America had just lost the race to space, and ARPA was to ensure that the United States did not lose any more important races to the Russians. After an intense recruiting period, the agency soon had many of the finest minds in the country working to develop new technologies and studying how to use existing technologies for military purposes. A nuclear attack from the Soviet Union was a real threat in the late 1950s, and ARPA was perceived as a major weapon in the fight to prevent (and if it couldn’t prevent, then win) World War III. The idea of developing an interconnected computer network came about gradually at ARPA. It was not until a scientist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) became the first director of ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) in 1962 that it really began to be considered. J. C. R. Licklider was interested in the relationship between computers and humans. After contemplating this relationship for several years, he proposed the idea of an intergalactic network, on which scientists could share their research and collaborate on projects. The idea was immediately popular at ARPA, but Licklider’s fellow researchers had more important projects to attend to (specifically, preparing for a nuclear war) and Licklider himself did not have the technical expertise to create such a network. So the intergalactic network remained an unfulfilled dream. Robert Taylor, the third director of the IPTO, breathed new life into the idea of networking multiple computer systems . As the story goes, Taylor was frustrated with the computer systems at ARPA. Those systems throughout the country were tied into the Pentagon through connections and had separate control monitors. While using these control monitors one day, Taylor decided he could devise a networked computer system that was much more efficient. He scribbled his plans for such a network on a piece of paper. Unlike Licklider, Taylor possessed the technical expertise to design a network and approached his boss. Twenty minutes later, he had received official approval. Surprised by his success, Taylor immediately went looking for someone to help him build the network. Larry Roberts was that someone. Roberts, a computer scientist who had been working on long-distance computer networking at MIT, came to ARPA in 1967. His experience with long-distance computer networking was a valuable asset, and by January 1969, he had devised the prototype system that would be used to develop the ARPA network. After working through a few technical glitches, Roberts saw the first ARPANet connection come together in October 1969. The fledgling ARPANet was like an untamed wilderness. Several universities and government facilities signed on, and before long, scientists and scholars from all over the country were performing various experiments to determine what the network could do. One of the biggest discoveries during the early days of the ARPANet occurred when Ray Tomlinson, an engineer with BBN (Bolt Beranek and Newman), became the first person to send electronic mail (E-mail) over the ARPANet. Tomlinson also was the first person to use the @ (at) symbol to delimit the end-user and the domain name in an E-mail address. But not every discovery was a pleasant one. One of the first major problems discovered by ARPANet developers occurred in 1973, following the network’s first international connection. The ARPANet had picked up much more traffic than its planners had ever expected it to have, and the growing ARPANet was straining the limits of the Network Control Protocol (NCP), which was the standard used to govern the transmission of data over the ARPANet. Initially, no one was sure how to solve the problem. Then Vinton Cerf, a graduate student at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Bob Kahn, a member of the BBN team, collaborated in 1974 to develop the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), a set of protocols that could handle much heavier ARPANet traffic. Not only did TCP/IP save the ARPANet from a serious crash, but the acceptance of TCP/IP as the default transmission standard could be signalled as the beginning of the Internet as we know it today. Most current definitions of the Internet include a clause that states it must be governed by TCP/IP. With this new transmission protocol, the Internet continued to grow. By 1990, it consisted of more than 100,000 hosts and had consumed the ARPANet. Back to the history of cybercrime, the first recorded case that looks like cybercrime took place in the year 1820. That is not surprising considering the fact that the abacus, which is thought to be the earliest form of a computer, has been around since 3500 B.C. in India, Japan and China. The era of modern computers, however, began with the Analytical Engine of Charles Babbage. In 1820, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, a textile manufacturer in France, invented the loom . This device (loom) allowed the repetition of a series of steps in the weaving of special fabrics. This resulted in a fear amongst Jacquard’s employees that their traditional employment and livelihood were being threatened. They committed acts of sabotage to discourage Jacquard from further use of the new technology. This is the first recorded cybercrime.
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