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Word Count: 3,349
Computer crime is generally defined as any crime accomplished through special knowledge of computer technology All that is required is a personal computer a modem and a phone line Increasing instances of white-collar crime involve computers as more businesses automate and information becomes an important asset Computers are objects of crime when they or their contents are damaged as when terrorists attack computer centers with explosives or gasoline or when a computer virus--a program capable of altering or erasing computer memory--is introduced into a computer system As subjects of crime computers represent the electronic environment in which frauds are programmed and executed an example is the transfer of money balances in accounts to perpetrators accounts for withdrawal Computers are instruments of crime when used to plan or control such criminal acts as complex embezzlements that might occur over long periods of time or when a computer operator uses a computer to steal valuable information from an employer Computers have been used for most kinds of crime including fraud theft larceny embezzlement burglary sabotage espionage murder and forgery since the first cases were reported in 1958 One study of 1500 computer crimes established that most of them were committed by trusted computer users within businesses persons with the requisite skills knowledge access and resources Much of known computer crime has consisted of entering false data into computers which is simpler and safer than the complex process of writing a program to change data already in the computer With the advent of personal computers to manipulate information and access computers by telephone increasing numbers of crimes--mostly simple but costly electronic trespassing copyrighted-information piracy and vandalism--have been perpetrated by computer hobbyists known as hackers who display a high level of technical expertise For many years the term hacker defined someone who was a wizard with computers and programing It was an honor to be considered a hacker But when a few
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