Enumerate and describe briefly what for you would be the TOP 3 Greatest Computer/Internet Crimes in the world during this Century (from 2000-2016).
Provide links of their nature and damage they caused (either news pages, video, reviews, etc).
And evaluate each (your reason/s why each of your 3 choices wrought the most havoc), rather what makes the crime so special? (in terms of morality, affected users, economic damage).
These are my top 3 cybercrimes. I chose them based on my views on how these crimes affected the society – the victims, the criminals, the IT professionals and as a common citizen.
ILOVEYOU, sometimes referred to as Love Letter, was a computer worm that attacked tens of millions of Windows personal computers on and after May 4, 2000 local time in the Philippines when it started spreading as an email message with the subject line “ILOVEYOU” and the attachment “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs”.
The outbreak was estimated to have caused US$5.5–8.7 billion in damages worldwide, and estimated to cost US$15 billion to remove the worm. Within ten days, over fifty million infections had been reported, and it is estimated that 10% of internet-connected computers in the world had been affected. Damage cited was mostly the time and effort spent getting rid of the infection and recovering files from backups. To protect themselves, The Pentagon, CIA, the British Parliament and most large corporations decided to completely shut down their mail systems. This virus affected over 50 million computers and was one of the world’s most dangerous computer related disasters of all time.
ILOVEYOU was a computer worm coded in VBScript. The key to its success was taking advantage of Windows’ default settings of hiding (.vbs) extensions, making the file appear to be a harmless .txt file. It begins by targeting the victim’s mailing lists. The generated emails will appear to come from acquaintances thus making them appear safe. The email’s ingenious subject also engaged with the victim’s curiosity and exploited their need for connectivity. The massive global damage caused by the virus is enough to make it great. On 2002, it even obtained a world record for being the most virulent computer virus at the time. NBI had difficulties charging Reonel Ramones and Onel de Guzman. It highlighted our legislative deficiencies in terms of cybercrime laws. Since we had no laws for writing malware, or the damage they have caused to speak of at that time, all charges were dropped by state prosecutors. Both Ramones and de Guzman were released. Whether de Guzman unwittingly released the virus, both of them committed cybercrimes. They should have been penalized with the damages they caused. Due to this incident, it pushed our lawmakers to create specific laws that punished cybercriminals. This crime was of great importance especially in the Philippines. It made us aware on the state of negligence in our laws with cyber crime at that time, by releasing Ramones and de Guzman without any charges. Lawmakers should be forward thinking and study in advance on how new technologies that are adapted in the country can be beneficial yet exploited by people.
2. Panama Papers
The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The documents show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.
Panama Papers is considered the biggest leak in history amounting to 2.6TB of files. It revealed the corruption among political leaders, and showed very detailed processes on how these people hid their wealth. The offshore accounts may not be illegal per se, but the intent of hiding their wealth creates huge controversies. One of the best example politician named in the leak is our very own Marcos family.
The damage that this leak has done primarily affects the rich and powerful. Because of this, it has been revealed to us on how the rich stayed rich. In a way, this great crime benefits a greater number of people by bringing the truth into light.
From the computer ethics standpoint, it is in no doubt that hacking is unethical. However, if behind this crime reveals a greater scandal the world has ever seen, will this act be justified?
According to the “John Doe” who leaked the data, he did it for a noble reason of income inequality in our society. In my personal opinion, I admire his actions as I too despise the seriousness of social inequality. Even if what he did was illegal he did it with selfless reasons.
The sheer volume of files alone makes this cybercrime great. The controversy that these files has revealed makes it more historical and significant. The leaders and important persons involved may be the victim of this crime, but the unearthed secrets bring out more pressing issues that will not save them.
news/2016/apr/03/what-you- need-to-know-about-the-panama- papers
1. United States v. Swartz
In United States of America v. Aaron Swartz, Aaron Swartz, an American computer programmer, writer, political organizer and Internet activist, was prosecuted for many violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (CFAA), after downloading a great many academic journal articles through the MIT computer network from a source (JSTOR) for which he had an account as a Harvard research fellow.
Aaron Swartz is a remarkable person and anyone who wishes to learn a lot about the internet and internet culture should at least know his works and the things he fought for as an internet activist. A young genius and monikered as “Internet’s own boy”. He co-pioneered several internet-technologies and concepts at a very young age, in which we benefit up to this date. One of the original concepts he had was an early form of Wikipedia.
As for the crime that he committed, he was prosecuted to have downloaded “a great many academic journal articles”. For a computer genius and a hacker, he could have been anyone. He could’ve hacked banks, infiltrated security systems, breached government websites for his own personal benefit. In the end, he felt that there was a higher purpose for the skills that he had. He felt that a great amount of knowledge (the academic journals), should be accessible to anyone and not just to a privileged few.
Technically speaking, this is not a great of a crime. However, the sentence that he faced was more severe than killers, slave dealers and bank robbers. He was about to face about 50 years in federal prison. He wasn’t able to serve his sentence as he took his own life in 2013 at the age of 26.
The crime committed by Aaron Swartz might not be destructive in fiscal terms and the number of people affected. Others would even say that his actions are not criminal. But in relation to computer ethics, what he did makes us stop and think. It makes us question what he did was right or wrong.
The deeper sense of justice that Swartz was fighting for is something the one has to ponder. Is it a crime to share to the world valuable academic journals in pursuit for equal access to knowledge? (He uploaded the journals and shared it over the internet and he did not a make a profit of it). Or, is there a greater crime to hoard this valuable knowledge, for profit, and it only to be accessible to a select amount of people?
These questions is what makes this “crime” so different and so remarkable. It sends a greater message than just a petty case of cyber-thievery. It blurs the line in which his acts should be justified. Was he a revolutionary? Or was he a lunatic out to prove his skills as a computer genius (as how the prosecutors see it)?
As for the damaged that it caused, it merely created a dent into the bank accounts of JSTOR. Maybe it has caused great inconvenience to the FBI, the government prosecutors, and officials involved in prosecuting. That much is to be said on the damage he has caused. But instead, his “crime” has led to something greater – like on how it paved way for Jack Andraka’s revolutionary cancer test. Thanks to the journals that he has “stolen”, this revolutionary cancer test was made.
This is why, this crime is something that is of great importance. In computer ethics, it creates a great discourse on whether this should be considered as a great offence, or is an act that is justifiable. A question of morality arises from these and it delivers an issue that is closer to us, not just as students and computer professionals, but as someone who wishes to contribute to the advancement of humanity.