Digital Computer Crime


The term ‘cybercrime’ refers to any crime committed by using a computer and the Internet to purloin person’s identity with malevolent programs. Computer crimes are inexorably becoming more advanced and threatening to both individuals and organizations. Cyber-attacks against computers and critical infrastructure are increasing in a consistent manner. This essay will address different types of computer crimes, common forms of digital crimes and responses taken by the United States to combat computer crimes.


The primary four classes of computer crimes comprise cyber warfare, cyber extortion, computer fraud and cyber terrorism. First, cyber warfare is usually a political crime related to the interests of a state or worldwide group. Its goal is to attack and harm another state’s computers or other vital system. Such an attack can be carried out through the use of computer viruses or denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. For instance, in the United States digital infrastructure is protected by the military nullifying the detrimental effects of cyber warfare.

Second, cyber extortion involves using the Internet by a person to demand money, services, or other goods from another individual by intimidating them to impose harm on their reputation or property. An example of cyber extortion could be considered denial-of-service attack where the malicious attacker subjects the email server or computer system to repeated denial of service and demands money in order to stop the attacks. For instance, cyber extortion attack occurred in Sony Pictures in 2014.

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Third, computer fraud is a fraud performed by informational systems, such as Internet devices or services. The main goal of this crime is to gain money or data by deceptive means. It encompasses bank fraud, identity theft, and theft of information.

Lastly, computer-generated terrorism is a crime usually committed by terrorists to threaten peaceful population or overturn the regime of the public enemy. Stohl claims, ‘It also includes the use of the computer system gears to close down dangerous state organization like carriage, administration tasks, and energy. This susceptibility of cyber sabotage is conveyed about by reliance on computer grids in actions by countries and dire organization” (2006). An unfriendly group of people or country could take on the rebound of the enemy to infiltrate ill fortified computer system, upsetting and even closing down pressing tasks. The risk of virtual dangers is frequently connected with extremists who seek to take revenge. Terrorists hack into structures with the intention of inflicting severe damage.

Under computer terrorism, there is a category of computer virus which can be well-defined as a self-replicating computer program that works by implanting duplicates of itself into other executable forms or code. Lewis clarifies, “It works like natural infections, disseminating by implanting itself into existing cells. The addition of a virus into the program known as an impurity. The diseased file, or the executable encryption that is not portion of a file is characterized a host” (2002).

Viruses are one of the numerous forms of cruel software or malware. Some viruses can be deliberately dangerous as they could erase information or cause irreparable damage; others are non-threatening or just irritating. Some kinds of them have so-called ‘retarded ignition’, commonly denoted to as a bomb. The main destructive result of viruses is their unrestrained self-reproduction which trashes and overpowers computer properties. Like other cyber-attacks, viruses are becoming extra painful, destructive, and challenging. They spread very fast and have large zone of damage.

The most common forms of digital crimes are phishing, identity theft, hacking, and grooming. Phishing involves obtaining personal information through the use of fake email messages from Internet users. Hacking, in turn, involves misusing or shutting down websites and computer networks. Identity theft is usually connected with misusing of personal information for lucrative purposes. Finally, Internet grooming is a practice of befriending with persons online, usually with children, in order to abuse them sexually.

The government of United States has taken significant steps to combat computer crimes through the use of the following methods. Firstly, the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) is accountable for executing the Department’s nationwide policies in battling computer and logical property crimes internationally. Intellectual Property Section has developed to be an essential part of the U.S tax institutions. In pursuant to these ideas, CCIPS counsels frequently solve intricate problems, deal with exceptional legal and fact-finding matters raised by developing of the computer and telecommunications skills throughout the world.

Regarding hearing of cases, it provides necessary information to other prosecutors, federal and local law administration staff. It also recommends and introduces legislations, subscribes and partakes in global efforts to counter intellectual property and computer crimes. By the end of 1998, the National Institute of Justice had selected a supervision team comprising TriData Corporation, U.S. Tennessee Valley Authority Police, U.S Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, and U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) to solve daily tasks. This team has a number of responsibilities concerning digital crimes, including research and investigations, developing of defensive measures, etc. It also is directed at combating of terrorism and extremism, finding and advancing scientific ways and evidence concerning the issue.

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In addition, it should be mentioned that Department of Homeland Security is also working on the defensive measures against computer terrorism. According to Dhillon, “It works to stimulate consciousness on virtual safety and statistical knowledge amid all internet operators. The section also cooperates with the monetary and other serious groundwork areas to expand network security” (1999). The Department has various branches such as the United States Secret Service and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement which collectively combat cyber-crimes. The Secret Service upholds Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs) which focus on recognizing and tracking cyber crooks linked to cyber incursions, bank scam, facts cracks and other computer-related crimes worldwide. The Secret Service’s Cyber Intelligence Section has openly backed the capture of most sought cyber criminals. The Secret Service similarly runs the National Computer Forensic Institute, which offers law implementation officers and magistrates with cyber exercise and facts to fight the cyber misconduct.

Though numerous attempts to combat cyber crimes have been undertaken, the government and namely law enforcement agencies should not forget about constant developing of preventive strategies. For instance, cyber security responsiveness should be attained among the Internet users. Besides, it is important to devise special programs to prevent cyber attacks, as it is usually easier to take preventive measures beforehand instead of dealing with full-fledged crimes.


In conclusion, it could be seen that with the advancing of informational technologies computer crimes have spread worldwide and critical measures should be employed by the all countries to curb furtherance of this malefaction. Nowadays there exist several types of computer crimes, such as cyber warfare, cyber extortion, computer fraud, and cyber terrorism. On the Internet people could encounter with phishing, identity theft, hacking, and grooming. Though government is taking needed steps to combat cyber crimes, preventive measured should also be taken into account. The fights against computer crimes should be fought not only by the US legislators, prosecuting attorneys, security development authorities, but also by all computer users.

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