As technology has become more and more advanced so have criminals. In order to keep off with these new crimes officers need to know about them and know about ways to stop them. This paper will cover three topics, which every new officer should know about; common computer crimes, computer use in computer crime investigations and computers in police cars.
With the advent of computers, there came a whole new category of crime. Not only do computers allow for new types of crime, but they also provide new avenues for all types of crime. This section will cover some of the more common crimes that involve computers.
There are many way in which computers are used in the sexual exploitation of children. Some of those ways include when users knowingly sends or receives pornographic images of children, accessing computer bulletin boards or chat rooms and knowingly downloading images, or using chat rooms and groups to lure minors into sexual conversations (Offenders, Aug 2000). After a recent Supreme Court case the Supreme Court ruled that banning “Virtual Child Pornography” was unconstitutional since no children were harmed in the act. However, Ashcroft was worried about with the advances in computer technology that it is becoming hard to tell if the Child Pornography if “Virtual” or not. (Ashcroft vs. Free Speech Coalition, April 2002) (Child Pornography Cases Rise)
SPAM, which is also called unsolicited commercial e-mail, is something that almost everyone who has an e-mail address gets. What most people don’t realize is that it is a crime. The problem with most SPAM is that it is very hard to trace because many places that use it use “ghost servers” which disguise or hid the senders IP address.
KaZaA, Morphious, and limewire, are all examples of peer-to-peer software whose main use it to “trade” files between computers. The problem is that much of the software and other files that are “traded” are copyrighted, and are not authorized to be given to anyone other than the person who had bought the item. So lets say what you wanted a copy of Windows XP you could simply go onto one of these programs, type in the name of the software that you want, and start downloading it. Not only are these sites causing software companies to loose money since Internet users can download a copy for free, they are also allowing people to download Hacks to copyrighted programs which will create a new serial number for that software so you don’t have to buy it. (Limewire) (P2P File Sharing)
Everyday the numbers of sites that will help you find a lost loved one or an old roommate that you have lost touch with increases. The problem with that is when people start to use it for stalking purposes. Not only is it possible to find out where a person lives, you can find out almost an unlimited amount of info on a person without their consent. For example I wanted to know how old my CJ professor was, so I went to a site called www.USsearch.com, all I gave that site was his first and last name and his approximate age, and there were able to give me that my professor was 61 years of age, lived in Grand Rapids and his middle name is Thomas.
Not only are does the Internet make it easier to you it also makes it easier to see what you are doing. A very simple computer program called a packet sniffer, which can be downloaded off the Internet, will allow an individual to see what everyone else on his network is doing on the Internet, without possibility of detection. In hub network, whenever a computer sends out a packet of information out to the Internet every other computer in that network also receives that same packet, but the computers choose to ignore it because the packet is not addressed to them. But, what a packet sniffer does is it instructs the computer not to ignore all the packets being sent and to display them for their own use. (Sniffers)
Now that we have gone over some of the most common computer crimes, we need