0-odd years with a force
unprecedented in history, governments, businesses and people around the
world have been affected immeasurably. The already enormous and
exponentially growing capacities for electronic storage, ransmission and
rapid manipulation of binary data changed the modern landscape ually
overnight, making the world of today's children unrecognizable in many ways
to those of earlier generations. Perhaps with some of the bias (or
navet)that is part of my generation, I consider it axiomatic that the
changes have included substantial benefits. However, such fundamental
restructuring in society also results in certain disadvantages, on all
levels. Our vulnerability increases with the perceived value of and
reliance on this technology. Increased opportunities for the industrious to
be more productive also allow the less-upright new avenues for malevolence.

The stuff in computers is information. Some people want to use information
in ways that horrifies others. Disputants call on the legal system to
settle the matter, and some people get indicted. The law has to provide
answers, but there is no consensus on what the rules are: the technology is
growing too fast, and there is too much myth and ignorance. Instead of
social consensus, the federal government has passed laws, hundreds of them,
criminalizing so-called "unauthorized access" and data transmission. Other
groups, too have called for laws, regulations, cyberspace constitutions,
and so on, to regulate the electronic arena. These efforts are futile.

We will write a custom essay sample on

As digital technology has advanced over the past 5 specifically for you

for only $13.90/page

Order Now

The Canadian laws suronding computer crime are not preventing damage or
even stopping the problem from growing and need to be enforced with more
accuracy. Penelties must also be improved to be more harsh on offenders.

The chronology of computer viruses is not clearly defined, but the
creation of the electronic replicating mechanisms that we call viruses can
be credited to John Conway. Conway carried out the initial work in the
1960s. These early concepts were further developed at various research
institutes including MIT, AT;T's Bell Laboratories and the Xerox research
facility in Palo Alto, California. Researchers learned that by altering the
coding in core memory they could make a program that was originally
designed to digest data consume other programs as well. This led to
programmers matching wits against each other to devise programs with the
ability to self-replicate and then, when triggered into action, consume the
programs of opposing players. They called these little programs "organisms"
because of their ability to grow. At one point these organisms went
completely out of control on a Xerox 530 and the "Core Wars" were brought
to an unceremonious end. Our innocence lost, computer viruses had arrived.

Viruses can do almost anything, from cause a mild inconvience, to
physically destroying an entire computer network system. With technology
becoming more and more advanced we are faced with a problem that needs a
swift remady, however this remedy does not seem to exist today for reasons
that fall solely on the government and that need to be changed.

Probably the greatest event of 1992 was the great Michelangelo scare.

One of the American anti-virus vendors forecast that five million computers
would go down on March the 6th, and many other US vendors climbed on to the
bandwagon. PC users went into a purchasing frenzy, as the media whipped up
the hype. On March the 6th, between 5,000 and 10,000 machines went down,
and naturally the US vendors that had been hyping the problem put this down
to their timely and accurate warning. We'll probably never know how many
people had Michelangelo, but certainly in the days leading up to March the
6th, a lot of computers were checked for viruses. After March 6th, there
were a lot of discredited experts around. No suspects were questioned and
no charges were laid. This virus is still a major problem today and
currently nothing is being done by the government to prevnet another major

Another famous virus that reaked havok in systems all over the world
including Canada was the dreaded Tequila virus. Tequila used full stealth
when it installed itself on the partition sector,
and in files it used partial stealth, and was fully polymorphic. A full
polymorphic virus in one for which no search string can be written down,
even if you allow the use of wild cards. Tequila was the first polymorphic
virus that was widespread. By May, the first few scanners were detecting
it, but it was not until September that all the major scanners could detect
it reliably. If you don't detect it reliably, then you miss, say, 1% of
infected files. The virus starts another outbreak from these overlooked
instances, and has to be put down again, but now there is that old 1%, plus
another 1% of files that are infected but not detected. This can continue
for as long as the user has patience, until eventually the hard disk
contains nothing but files that the scanner cannot detect. The user, thinks
that after the virus coming back a number of times, it gradually infected
fewer and fewer files, until now he has gotten rid of it completely. As in
the Michelangelo case no suspects were taken in for questioning and no
arrests were made. Another example that our government is not doing enough
to prevent this spread of viruses.

Another virus that came out at about that time, was Starship.

Starship is a fully polymorphic virus (to defeat scanners), with a few neat
anti-debugging tricks, and it also aims to defeat checksummers with a very
simple trick. Checksumming programs aim to detect a virus by the fact that
it has to change executable code in order to replicate. Starship only
infects files as they are copied from the hard disk to the floppy. So files
on the hard disk never change. But the copy on the floppy disk is infected,
and if you then copy that onto a new hard disk, and tell the checksummer on
the new machine about this new file, the checksummer will happily accept
it, and never report any changes. Starship also installs itself on the hard
disk, but without changing executable code. It changes the partition data,
making a new partition as the boot partition. No code is changed, but the
new partition contains the virus code, and this is run before it passes
control on to the original boot partition. The only connections with the
above two cases is that no persons were aprehended for this crime.

There will be more viruses - that's an easy prediction. How many more
is a difficult call, but over the last five years, the number of viruses
has been doubling every year or so. This surely must slow down. If we say
1500 viruses in mid-1992, and 3000 in mid-1993, then we could imagine 5000
in mid 1994 and we could expect to reach the 8,000 mark some time in 1995.

Or perhaps we are being optimistic? Still with the world depenging more
and more on the abilities of computers the laws must be enforced with more
vigilance and even the laws must be toughened to deter other would be virus
creators from adding to the chaos.

Computer software is the backbone behind the computer industry and
with the creation of faster modems and CD Rom duplicators this industry is
faceing a problem with tramendous reprocutions. All over the world BBS's
are becoming the rage of young people who not only will trade their own
software but will also give it away for access to higer files. BBS's,
which stand for Buliten Bord Systems are run by people who generly have
good intentions. With the purposes of legaly distibuting software to the
public they seem to be a plus on the side of computers, but there are
boards which sole purpose is to distribute registered software. Also with
the internet becoming more and more acsessable to billions of people IRC
channels have been created also with the purpose of tradeing iligal
software. IRC channels require no passwords or special scripts, just the
desire to abtain new software fom a faceless vender who you will meet.

Along with IRC's, FTP sites have opened up with the same intentions of
distiruting software to anyone with software to trade. With all this
iligail activity you might think that the internet is overun by police
officals cracking down on all of the sites but that is just not happening.

The laws which were implimented to stop this activity are in place but
there is no one there to inforce it.

BBS's are local systems that contain as much software as the
SYSOP(system operator) deams necessary. There have been increasing numbers
of boards springing up all over the 416-905 area code. The most famous
board is Beyond Akira which contained over 10 nods and 58 gigs of
information. This board was run out of a one bedroom arpartment by Humzah
and Zayd Khaial, who along with their mother were aprehended by police.

This might seem like a blow against crime but in actuallty it did very
little. On some pirate boards are lists of the other known boards in the
area, when Akira was raided a list of over 500 boards was obtained, but
when news of the bust had gotten out all of the know boards deleted all of
their files which is also evidence.

The internet is a vast world where a person can find information on
any give subject no matter how vague. Along with the web there is somthing
called IRC)internet relat chat) this allows people to talk around the world
no being restricted by local area codes and expensive phone call prices. A
persone living in Canada can talk with a persone living across the world
and not recive any bill. This sounds great in the long run but is also is
a breeding ground for iligal computer activities. Imagian a BBS that could
be accessed by countless members from around the world with only one
purpose, the trade of iligal software. A famous channel know as #warezz is
constantly opened to anyone with the intent of trading software. The
enforcers of the law on the net known as "net cops" patrole IRC channels
flooding onliners who are commiting said iligail activity, in theory. As a
person who frequents places where this activity goes on all the time, no
officals from any governmetn have ever been spotted. This shows that the
laws are in place but not enough people are enforcing them.

Another site on the internet that is also ingaged in seemy activites
are FTP sites. The sites are the same as normal web pages except that
there is no page. All that one is is a simple directory. With further
inspection it is found that the directorys contain pirated software which
can be accessed if the person uploades somthing. In essance FTP is the
same as IRc except that you can't converse with someone but it is jus as
iligal. Along with IRC's hoever there never seems to be a problem with net
cops which further demonstrate that the laws are in place but they are not

Today's criminals have learned where the money is. Instead of
settling for a few thousand dollars in a bank robbery, those with enough
expertise can walk away from a computer crime with many millions. And they
do walk away -- far too often. The National Computer Crimes Squad estimates
that between 85 and 97 percent of computer intrusions are not even
detected. Fewer than 10 percent of all computer crimes are reported (mainly
because organizations frequently fear that their employees, clients, and
stockholders will lose faith in them if they admit that their computers
have been attacked). And few of the crimes that are reported are ever

Energy facilities were targeted by attackers in March 1990.The
intruders were prevented from obtaining classified information, and an
investigation was initiated immediately to identify the source of the
attempted intrusions. Several weeks later they were located and identified.

They were attempting to break into the computers from outside the Canada.

Many such attempts and attacks have been reported in the intervening years.

It is clear that military and government systems continue to be attractive
targets for computer criminals, whatever their motivation.

IBM has also been the target of computer abuse. One example was in
December 1987, when a creative West German programmer managed to plant a
Trojan horse program (many incorrectly labeled it a virus) in the IBM
lectronic mail systems on five continents. Anytime someone on an affected
system typed "Christmas" on his computer, the program displayedholiday
message. It then sent a copy of itself to other network addresses kept in
that user's electronic mail file. Anyone who tried to stop the message
lost electronic mail and other information that had not been saved. The
incident was so severe that IBM had to shut down the system for 72 hours
while it purged the message. No arrests were made after the viruse had
been eradicated.

Back in 1988,
seven not-quite-clever-enough criminals hatched a plot against the First
National Bank of Chicago. The group used a wire transfer scheme to move
$25.37 million belonging to Merrill Lynch and Company, $25 million
belonging to United Airlines, and $19.75 million belonging to the
Brown-Forman Corporation to a New York Bank and then to two separate banks
in Vienna. The transfers were authorized over the telephone, and follow-up
calls were made by the bank to verify the requests. All of the follow-up
calls were routed to the residence of one of the suspects. On Monday
morning, the three companies called the bank to find out what happened to
their deposits. Investigators used the telephone records of the
verification calls to trace the crime to the suspects. Had these criminals
been a little more clever or a little more quick, they may have gotten away
with over $70 million.

This paper argues that computer crime poses unique problems for
police forces, which at present have not been systematically addressed. The
lack of proper statistics (based partly on a lack of a proper definition of
computer crime), a lack of sympathy with the victims and inadequate
training can only be remedied by an integrated approach and it is proposed
that this requires the bringing together of investigative, legal, courtroom
and computing skills. If nothing is done about the problems facing us
today the future of computers is looking extreamly bleek.

Cornwall, H., Hacking away at computer law reform, New Law Journal, 30
September 1988.

Tapper, C., Computer Law, Longmans, Canada, 1990.

Report on Computer Crime., HMSO , 1987
Sieber, Ulrich, International Handbook on Computer Crime , Computer-related
Economic Crime and the Infringements of Privacy, Wiley , 1986
Duyn, Julia Van Human Factor in Computer Crime., Petrocelli Bks, US , 1985
Best, Reba A. Picquet, D.Cheryn (Ed.) Computer Crime, Abuse, Liability and
Security, A Comprehensive Bibliography, 1970-84. , McFarland ; Co, US ,1985
Elsevier Internat. Bulletins , Dec 1983
Schweitzer, James A. Computer Crime and Business Information, A Practical
Guide for Managers., North-Holland Pub. Co , 1985
Wasik, Martin, Crime and the Computer., Oxf. University Press , 1990
Spaul B.J. Old- fashioned theft in a hi-tech environment. Accountancy
November 1990.