The Context and Background

The Context and Background

Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 34
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5804-2.ch001
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This chapter introduces the nature, evolution, and development of cyber (digital) crimes in the context of the modern digital revolution with particular stress on software piracy and copyright infringement. Firstly, it overviews the various forensic implications of cyber criminality in its various forms and goes on to talk about the detection, preservation, and forensic utilisation of digital evidence, as well as its relationship to global cyber legislation. Next, it concentrates on exploring the fields of digital and software forensics and then software piracy as a cyber crime. The chapter then discusses the forensics of the infringement of software copyright, especially in terms of its legal and judicial complexity. Finally, it concludes by explaining how all the various complex issues bear on the crucial role of the cyber forensic consultant experts in the collection, interpretation and presentation of the digital evidence in a manner that is both judicially efficient and convincing.
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Cyber Crimes

Digital Revolution and Cyber Crimes

With the introduction of digital machines, the second half of the twentieth century witnessed a revolution and a paradigm shift in the way the world does business. The revolutionary incorporation of digital computer systems as integral part of private, commercial, educational, governmental, and other facets of modern life has improved the productivity and efficiency of modern life (Reith et al., 2002). The digital revolution has paved the way for a new technology called Information Technology (IT), and industry, government and indeed society are all becoming critically dependent on Information Technology (Benjamin et al., 1998). Although the computer reigns supreme in the digital domain, it is not the only digital device. An entire constellation of audio, video, communications, medical and photographic devices have also been digitalized, to work closely in association with the computer (FBI, 2000).

Cyber Crime and Cyber Criminality

As an unpleasant sequel to the digital revolution, digital media and equipment have also become open and vulnerable to widespread abuse. This vulnerability has given rise to digital or cyber crimes and resultant criminal charges and suits against digital or cyber criminals. A wide spectrum of abuses of digital technology products exist. For example, spam is an abuse of email system, software piracy is an abuse of software system, file slacking is an abuse of operating system, IP spoofing is an abuse of networking technology, DoS (Denial of Service) attack is an abuse of the internet, and digital pornography is an abuse of digital video technology, just to name a few. While all sorts of digital equipment are generally favorite means as well as tools of criminals, a computer probably can be their most favorite tool and vehicle for many reasons. These reasons include the general proliferation of computer use, the computer’s power to encrypt, keep and deliver data anywhere in the world and the computer’s ability to interface itself (for data transfer) with the entire constellation of digital (audio, video, communications, medical and photographic) devices. When unethical hands attain user proficiency of any digital equipment and thus, gain easy access to digital information (Reith et al., 2002), cyber criminality spreads.

Needless to say then that one type or example or form of cyber crime is computer abuse. It must be stated here that not all abuse can amount to criminal acts. For instance, while bashing up one’s own PC in frustration is an abuse of digital equipment not amounting to a cyber crime, any abuse or misuse of digital equipment, if done with mens rea resulting in public harm, can be treated as a cyber crime. Forms of computer criminality include the copyright infringement through software piracy, internet fraud, marketing scams, identity theft, the creation and transmission of child pornography, and any act that compromises network security. One of the oldest definitions of computer abuse may be that of Donn Parker and his definition of computer abuse is dated back to 1976, an era of pre-World Wide Web and low bandwidth. Parker, according to Anthony Reyes (2007), is usually cited for favoring the term computer abuse and for describing computer abuse as “….any incident involving an intentional act where a victim suffered or could have suffered a loss, and a perpetrator made or could have made a gain and is associated with computers” (Parker, 1976, cited in Reyes, 2007, p.24).

Cyber crimes then are generally malicious activities by criminals seeking to (intentionally or sometimes unintentionally) exploit or disrupt an Information Technology (IT) system, for mischief, financial gain or more sinister motives (Benjamin et al., 1998). In principle, cyber crime encompasses any crime (malicious act potentially) capable of being committed in an electronic environment (UNCPCTO, 2000).

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