Ever increasing computer fraud risks

The higher usage of computers in everyday life resulted in a new type of criminal acts, known as “cybercrime”.

One of these acts is a computer fraud. The lawmakers defined this act in a very general way which is why it is subjected to different interpretations which result in putting various unlawful and wrongful deeds under this term.

As it is stated in Convention on Cybercrime from 2001: Each Party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offenses under its domestic law when committed intentionally and without right, the causing of a loss of property to another person by:

  1. any input, alteration, deletion or suppression of computer data,
  2. any interference with the functioning of a computer system, with fraudulent or dishonest intent of procuring, without right, an economic benefit for oneself or for another person

It is possible to make a distinction between two types of a fraud: a direct and an indirect.

The direct fraud is composed of a deceiving injured who is a physical person in a such a way that for the deception is being used in a computer system. On the other hand, the indirect fraud is not focused on the physical person but on deceiving the computer system. One of the more vivid examples of indirect fraud could be the case of lifting cash from ATM using another person’s credit card without authorization.

As there are many types of computer frauds I will try to summarize the most common ones:

  • 419 SCUM

One of the most common frauds is most certainly a fraud via email. The best example is 419 Scam. It was named after Nigerian legal code because it usually involves emails sent from Nigeria. There is probably no person on the internet who did not receive a message in which they are being asked for bank account number in order to receive an unexpected payment a large sum of cash. This information is later being used for illegal activities, such as unauthorized access to bank account.

  • Phishing

Another type of an email-based fraud is phishing. The sender is trying to obtain the personal information from the victim by deceiving it into entering their data on a fake web page. Usually, the address and the content of the fake web page is very similar to the real one. Therefore, came the express phishing, distorted form of the word fishing.

  • Fraudulent purchase

Another widespread form of fraud is fraudulent purchase. This form of a criminal act is done once the perpetrator, after receiving an item, does not pay for that item or sends a check without a cover. A different form of fraudulent purchase is done when the perpetrator, after receiving the payment, does not send the desired item or sends it without required properties.

This is also a direct fraud. According to some statistics, this is a most often form of the internet fraud. A potential problem here can be proving a necessary intent because the ordered item is being transported from all around the world so there is always a possibility of the item being lost or damaged.

  • Trojan horse

Trojan horse is a malicious computer software which is being used for infecting targeted PC system and causing malicious activities. Usually, these programs are used for stealing personal data, spreading viruses or simply for disrupting the performance of a computer. Furthermore, hackers can use it for gaining unauthorized remote access to the infected computer, infecting other files and harming the whole system.

As soon as the trojan is inflicted he begins hiding in its victim. They are very alike to real viruses which is the reason they are hard to detect. The main protection should be the use of the reputable anti-spyware software. In the beginning, trojans viruses could not spread on the internet on its own. But, the newer versions have an extra component which can enable replication.

One type of trojan horse can replicate and infect a system without knowledge of a user. The other need to be installed manually into the computer, just like every other software. Methods of entry could be anything from emails and chats, weakness of web browser to entering in a form of a program or content of other programs.

It is naive to believe this form of a criminal act would disappear any time soon, especially because of constant fluctuation and changing of trends in ICT industry.

To protect as many people as possible the computer literacy should be raised, as well as continued tracking and education of competent authorities.

Author: Ivan Strangar

Contact: istrangar@s-gsg,com