Emerging Cybercrime Trends: Legal, Ethical, and Practical Issues

Emerging Cybercrime Trends: Legal, Ethical, and Practical Issues

Sean M. Zadig (Nova Southeastern University, USA) and Gurvirender Tejay (Nova Southeastern University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-132-0.ch003
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The issue of cybercrime has received much attention of late, as individual and organizational losses from online crimes frequently reach into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars per incident. Computer criminals have begun deploying advanced, distributed techniques, which are increasingly effective and devastating. This chapter describes a number of these techniques and details one particularly prevalent trend: the employment of large networks of compromised computers, or botnets, to conduct a wide variety of online crimes. A typology of botnets is provided, and the supporting infrastructure of botnets and other online crime, including bulletproof hosting providers and money mule networks, are described. The chapter also relates a number of the practical, legal, and ethical challenges experienced by practitioners, law enforcement, and researchers who must deal with these emergent threats.
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While multiple types of emerging cybercrime will be discussed, the major focus of this chapter will be on the usage of malicious software, or malware, so a brief introduction to malware would be appropriate. The first computer viruses emerged in the 1980’s (Cohen, 1987), but spread slowly due to the reliance upon manual disk-to-disk infection (Highland, 1997) as a result of the lack of network connectivity between infected computers. One notable exception to this was the Morris Worm, a fast-spreading computer worm which infected one in twenty computers on the Internet in 1988 (Orman, 2003). The creator of the Morris Worm, once identified, received a sentence of three years of probation and a fine of $10,000, becoming the first individual to be tried by a jury for violating then-new federal hacking laws (Markoff, 1990).

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