US Definition Of Computer Crime
Till today, no single definition of cyber-crime has come out with that majority from the law enforcing members. The following working definition has been accepted increasingly be the US law enforcing agencies-
"A criminal offense in which the computer is involved as an object of crime or as a tool for committing an offense's material component."
Speaking generally, based on the definition created by the US law enforcement agencies and other sources of research, cyber crime can be divided into two broad categories-
1. When the computer is the crime tool. In this crime, those crimes are included that the law enforcing authorities have been fighting in the real world but are observing the increasing frequency through internet. Such crimes include fraud, criminal harassment, intellectual property violations, child pornography, sale of illegal goods as well as substances etc.
2. When the computer is used as the object of the crime. There are specific crimes in the classification of cyber crimes which are related to computer as well as network dealings. Example of such crimes include hacking, website defacing, creating and distributing computer viruses maliciously etc.
Addressing Computer Crime
US started to respond to cyber crime problems in 1984 by enacting its first law, "The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act." By enacting this law, US authority directly targeted on the attacks on the computer systems.
In 1991, Department of Justice launched a special unit for addressing computer issues.
In the year 2001, Department of Justice proposed the formation of nine specialized and dedicated prosecutorial units for fighting cyber-crime. These teams were called "Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Units." And their focus areas were high technology crimes such as theft of computers and high-tech components, hacking, computer intrusions, trademark and copyright violations, fraud etc. FBI has also taken numerous initiatives for addressing cyber crimes. FBI created the "National Infrastructure Protection Center" in 1998 with a mission to detect, investigate and assess major threats as well as incidents regarding to critical infrastructure intrusions. During these investigations, it was found that intrusion is just the first step in more traditional criminal schemes like fraud or any either kind of financial gain.
In numerous cases, it has been the incident in case of computer intrusions into the databases of the financial institutions, credit card companies, online businesses bank accounts etc. to obtain credit card numbers, bank account numbers etc. All this information are then used to defraud individuals and/or business. Besides these steps, FBI continues to develop as well as operate cyber crime task forces which consist of resources as well as investigators from other federal, state and local agencies. US have also taken part in the cyber crime area at the G8 conference and the European Convention.