Essay on Computer Crimes

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In the modern era, computers and the networks grew rapidly and at the same time it increased many opportunities for criminal activities, and organizations, law enforcement agencies are struggling to keep up from those attacks. Computer crimes not only include unauthorized user access but also include fraud, identity theft, altering user’s data, holding user information until ransom paid. Several methods of committing computer crimes are distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, ransomware attacks, viruses, worms, social engineering, phishing, key loggers. Computer crimes are rapidly growing which affecting many organizations and users as these crimes are frequently conducting in bulk and crimes span to the globe which leads to increased difficulty in finding the attackers.

Unauthorized access, informally called hacking which is a classic example of computer crimes. In so many ways, unauthorized access to a computer or computer system is like trespass which includes gaining access to sensitive information. An attacker can use the unauthorized access to the computer system in order to convert and use as per the attacker needs. A common example of such attacks called a botnet. A botnet is a computer network built on compromised systems that are used for resource-intensive tasks such as sending unwanted advertisement emails to a very large set of individuals at a time.

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In recent years, there were many computer crimes conducted by attackers which affected many organizations and individuals by using the vulnerabilities found on the computer operating system. A common example of such an attack is ransomware attacks. A ransomware attack is one of the greatest security risks that most organizations currently face. Over the past few years, these attacks have been growing as it has the potential to cause much bigger damage to organizations which was evidenced in the last few years. The 2017 Ransomware WannaCry attacks and considered it as the biggest ransomware attack ever happen. This attack affected more than 200,000 computers across 180 countries including Britain's National Health Services (Fruhlinger, 2018). WannaCry attacks mostly targeted Microsoft Windows operating system because of a vulnerability detected in the window’s server message block (SMB) protocol (Kilpatrick, 2019).

WannaCry ransomware first arrived on the malicious computer as a dropper program, a program that installs a malware onto a system drive or any other memory media which then extracts all other application components and then it proceeds to search/lookup for the kill switch to shut the device completely, if the kill switch hasn’t found on the computer, then the malware tried to encrypt all or some of the computer server data (Fruhlinger, 2018). Malware also tried to exploit the SMB vulnerability of windows operating system to spread out to other computer servers over the organization/user’s network rapidly and then displayed a ransom notice that your files have been encrypted and demanded payment through bitcoin. However, Microsoft has released the patch to the vulnerability before the attack, but the affected systems were not updated with the latest security patch and because of the unpatched systems were vulnerable to WannaCry ransomware attack.

In 2017 Equifax data was breached which is one of the largest credit card bureaus in US history, data breach revealed hundreds of millions of personnel user information were stolen including SSN, E-mails, addresses, date of births. Hackers used the vulnerability found on Apache struts, an enterprise open-source framework for creating enterprise Java applications. Attackers sent an HTTP request with malicious code which inserted into content header through the Equifax complaint web portal, in which struts could be tricked into running the code which opened to further intrusion into the system. The attackers were able to move the web portal to other servers because the Equifax system was not segmented, and the attackers were able to find the user information which was stored in plain text. However, Apache has released the patch for the vulnerability, but the Equifax didn’t patch the system on-time which resulted in the biggest data breach. The attacker was also able to pull the user's information from the network in encrypted form in which Equifax was unable to detect the data transfer for months because Equifax mainly failed to renew their encryption certificate to one of their security tools.

In 2016, FACC an Austrian aerospace parts maker lost around $61 million through the attack that happens through email phishing. A hacker posed as the CEO of FACC and sent an email to an entry-level accounting employee of FACC who transferred the funds to a fake project resulting in a loss of million dollars. Phishing is the kind of situation where it underscores the importance of having strong security guidelines, educating the employees with cybersecurity awareness. The phishing attack has resulted in the company suing the CEO and CTO for not implementing strong security infrastructure, training employees and failed to set up internal controls.

Computer crimes have severe consequences if they are not addressed properly including loss of company user data such as credit cards, SSN, addresses and user information, company reputation and law settlements. In order, to protect the company assets from these computer crimes organizations must enforce strong security guidelines, training employees, frequently running security scans by using Microsoft business security analyzer which can run scans on an individual server or set of servers over the network by providing the IP Address range on the MBSA user interface. MBSA scan results are stored in XML format and can be able to review results set in HTML format, these reports include all the successful and failed tests along with the corrective measures and provide guidance how to resolve the issues. Scan result sets also include severity ratings from low too high in accordance with Microsoft's recommended security standards. MBSA scans can be run through command-line interface and can be scheduled to run at any time. Running MBSA scans regularly will protect the windows server because it helps us in finding security misconfigurations, suggestions to improve the security standards and most importantly the MSBA scan also verifies whether system was updated or not if not, we need to install the patches on the system. Installing security patches, we can overcome the vulnerabilities found on the OS or the applications so, that we can avoid major computer crimes such as Ransomware. It is also equally important to enforce strong firewall rules to filter out the traffic in and out of network based on the current and future business requirements and need to make sure to review the firewall rules regularly so, no unauthorized users can pass through the firewalls and by strictly limiting open ports to prevent intruders from entering the corporate network.

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Essay on Computer Crimes. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from
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