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Cybercrime may include the following:

  • unauthorized access to information

  • creation, use, and dissemination of harmful computer programs, including over the Internet

  • intentional disruption of the normal operation of computers and networks

  • illegal trade in equipment for capturing computerized information

  • falsification of documents with the use of computer technologies

  • distribution of counterfeit software

  • conduct of financial swindles

  • publication of calls for violence and terror

  • publication of Nazi and fascist propaganda

The main characteristic of these crimes is that, as a rule, they have no physical signs.

Cybercriminals currently use various types of network attacks. Some use computer viruses, including network worms, which modify and destroy information or block the operation of computer systems; logic bombs, which are triggered under certain conditions; or Trojan horses, which send various types of information from infected computers back to their masters over the Internet.

The weapons of cybercriminals are being constantly honed, and their means of conducting information attacks are becoming increasingly refined. In the long term, we can expect to see the appearance of new nontraditional types of network attacks and computer crimes.

On the whole, we can state with confidence that the material damage from crimes in the information technology sphere is measured in the billions of U.S. dollars and is increasing with each passing year. Furthermore, the expected growth in financial losses from criminal infringements is based not only and not so much on the increased number of computer attacks as on the growing scale of the use of network information technologies in business. In the face of harsh competition, companies are forced to shift a large portion of their business communications onto the Internet, which makes them vulnerable to criminals unless matters of information protection are handled appropriately.

The world community has fully realized the potential consequences of the threat of cybercrime, and in this regard representatives of the European Union member states, the United States, Canada, and Japan signed the International Convention on Cybercrime in November 2001. In the convention, crimes committed in the information environment or against or with the aid of information resources are in fact defined as cybercrimes.

With the far lower level of development of computer networks in Russia, the situation in the Russian Federation is obviously not yet as serious as in the United States, but its intensity is increasing from year to year. We are increasingly sensing how the modern information criminal is becoming a reality.

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