There are frequent disputes over the definitions of computer crime and cybercrime. A crime is a crime only if it is proven to be a violation of a law in a court. Informally any adversity that seems to be intentional is called a crime.“Computer crime” is a term used synonymously with “abuse and misuse of computers,” and now we call it “cybercrime.” One simple definition of cybercrime is a type of crime involving a computer or device using a computer.
A broad definition of cybercrime is necessary so as not to overlook the need and range for information security solutions. This makes many, if not most, crimes today cybercrimes. Now even many of the violent crimes are also cybercrimes such as when they involve a social networking website. The Madoff Ponzi scheme was a cybercrime based on my definition. Madoff carried out his crime using computers as fraud tools and as producers of results that can be trusted.
I found it useful to help keep an audience’s attention by quoting a maxim now and then. I believe my collection is still as relevant today as it has been for all of the years of my practice. Types of crimes, errors and omissions, and security solutions do not generally become obsolete; they accumulate and evolve as technology and its use expand and advance.
Another caveat: my cybercrime collection, from which I derived some of the maxims, is biased. All 200 perpetrators I interviewed were just the ones caught, performed acts rich with security implications, and were easily accessible. Here is my first maxim:
We are in the golden age of cybercrime between disaster and annihilation.
It is a golden age of rapid criminal expansion in the dark side of computing and the Internet. Wrongdoers of all types have discovered the power and leverage provided by computers in their nefarious activities. They are expanding into apps, smartphones, tablets, robots, and all kinds of things containing computers. Disasters such as the $5 billion Madoff investment fraud and 2008 recession may be overshadowed by the possible coming annihilation of the Internet as cybercrime reaches a level so high that we may no longer be able to afford it.
Via Donn Parker, CISSP, Retired / ISSA Journal