Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cyber Crime Research Paper

Research Paper on Cyber Crime

Cyber threats – criminal and warfare activities that aim at private and/or public computers – gain increasing predominance in the list of global threats. This has to do with the increasing role of computer networks in public, business and private activities, as well as due to the growing sophistication of potential attackers. It may be also argued that none of cyber threats are as severe and material as cyber terrorism, which aims at national security and the proper functioning of other national institutions.

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As computer networks are becoming lucrative targets, both the incentive to attack them and the urgency to protect them rise and stand out from the other types of cyber threats. At least two aspects of cyber terrorism make this threat so central:

Firstly, the targets themselves (i.e. the network, servers. etc. being attacked) are usually of wider scope and scale than private and most business machines. This implies that the extent of damage done is potentially very wide, as well as the extent of people and processes involved.

Secondly, the mere thought that terrorists gain knowledge and experience in penetrating national computer networks is very troubling. Gradual improvements in cyber terrorists’ capabilities might be left unnoticed, as terrorists (unlike criminals) may wait years until they attack, while gathering valuable information and improving their skills throughout.

The U.S. is no stranger to cyber warfare and counter-terrorism, although much of the activities in this field probably remain unknown. The 2009 establishment of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) marked a significant leap forward in this direction. With its various departments (albeit some of them are not directly involved in cyber counter-terrorism), USCYBERCOM seems to represent a comprehensive approach of the Armed Forces towards cyber threats. Some of the major operations include securing communication networks and encrypting; securing databases and other sources of information; and protecting the computers, information stored and processed in them, and the networks in which they operate. The task forces of the USCYBERCOM join other national cyber defense organizations, most notably the cyber operations of the Department of Homeland security.

Notwithstanding the recent developments in this field, it is still uncertain that the U.S. is active enough in countering cyber terrorism. This is mainly because the latter (in a similar manner to guerrilla warfare) can be characterized as a very dynamic and rapidly changing array of threats, whereas the identity of the terrorist on the other side is very often unknown (as occurs in many other cases of cyber crime). Hence, USCYBERCOM and similar bodies can be effective only is they will be able to be as dynamic as their enemies, and only while working in close cooperation with international bodies. Since the USCYBERCOM just became operational last year it is impossible to determine its effectiveness. However, greater awareness to those threats and proper prioritization seem to have been taken into action already.
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