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Computer Crime Awareness for Police, Law Enforcement and Security, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, USA

At 911 Gear we believe sharing knowledge and information, benefits us all. As we are all aware in the Law Enforcement industry, Technological crime is the trend.

We hope you find the below info useful when training your staff. 


Computer crime is the unauthorized use of a computer for personal gain, as in the illegal transfer of funds or to alter the data or property of others. Computer and technology related crime is a growth industry. The number of people using computers is growing and so is crime. The reason crime has risen in the past years can be related to the growing number of computer users, computer networks being more readily accessible, and more people are becoming computer literate. The more users of computers there are the more targets for computer criminals. Also, many business use computer networks to communicate with offices in different areas they have the potential of being hacked into. Technology related crime is estimated at $8 billion a year. This includes stealing computer software, hardware, and peripherals such as printers, and also fraud committed by hacking into a computer and stealing money or information that can be used to make a profit. Computer fraud is estimated at $555,000,000 a year and each individual case of fraud costs about $109,000. Banks have been the biggest victims of computer fraud. Their attacks are estimated at about a $1 Billion a year. These figures are only estimates by professionals and they are believed to be underestimated.

Many cases of computer crime are unreported by victims. They are embarrassed and a crime can show that a company might have some weaknesses. Another reason that companies do not want to report a crime is that shareholders might threaten them with a lawsuit. Shareholder lawsuits can cost more than the theft.

Computer Security

Computer security is the maintenance of the integrity of computer systems and the information stored in them by all businesses, including federal and provincial governments.

Computer Crime

Computer crime is the illegal theft, destruction, or misuse of computer hardware, software, or information. The accidental loss or damage of information, hardware and software is more common than outright theft, or intentional destruction.

Four categories of computer crime:

  1. Theft or destruction of hardware, software or information
  2. Illegal or unauthorised access to computer systems or data
  3. Theft of money or services
  4. Counterfeiting
Theft or damage of hardware 

Theft of hardware can be expensive to replace and can render an entire system unusable because a single component has been stolen or damaged. Often the thieves are not after the hardware itself, but the company information stored on the hard disk. Notebook computers have become the targets for thieves, particularly at busy locations such as airports.

Prevention of theft of hardware can include:
  • surveillance cameras
  • security guards to monitor employees
  • cables to physically attach hardware
  • labelling hardware

Theft or damage of Software


Software piracySoftware piracy is used to refer to the stealing of commercial software. Commercial software is developed with the intent of making a profit that, because it has been copyrighted, cannot be copied or sold without the software company’s permission.In 1980, the U.S. Copyright Act was amended to explicitly include computer programs. The Software Piracy and Counterfeiting Amendment were added to this act in 1983.The Business Software Alliance estimates that in 1994 the software industry lost $15.2 billion due to illegal copying.

Estimated percentage of counterfeit software by country

  • China 98%
  • Russia 94%
  • U.S. 35%
  Computer Viruses

People who deliberately damage software or data often do this with programs called viruses.

Hactivist is a person who combines political "activism" with Internet computer "hacking"

Three main "weapons of attack"

Viruses are usually sent into organizations via e-mail systems where they can replicate across the networks and cripple communications for days or weeks.  Example is the LoveBug which is estimated to cause as much as 15 billion $US.

Denial of Service (DoS)

The target company is bombarded with meaningless information requests which overload the company's computer network and prevent its regular customers from using their Web pages.  On Feb. 7, 200 Yahoo computers were attack and it lost 100 million page viewers.


An intruder gains access to a target Web server and replaces some part of the Web site with their own message.  In 1996 the U.S. Department of Justice site was cracked and had over 200 directories replaced with the attackers own pages.  This hactivisit was never found. 

A cyberpunk is anybody who tries to "grab" (get) a little bit of the future technology and then use it in their everyday life (before most other users) and get a kick out of it 

Canadian Criminal Code Relevant to Information Security

Canada was one of the first countries to enact criminal laws in the area of computer crime with the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1985, which amended sections 342 and 430 of the Criminal Code.

Additional amendments to the Criminal Code in relation to computers and computer-related investigations was made in 1997 in the Criminal Law Improvement Act 1997. The bill added the following new offences to the Criminal Code:

  • S.342.1(1)(d) – using, possessing, or trafficking a computer password that would enable a person to commit an offence under 342.1; and

S.342.2 – possess of a device useful for committing an offence contrary to s.342.1. 
Please refer to related Criminal Code Offences Chart below


184Unlawful interception of private communications
326Theft of Telecommunication services
327Possession of device to unlawfully obtain the use of a telecommunications facility or service
342.1Unauthorized use of computers
342.2Possession of a device to obtain computer services
430 (1.1)Mischief in relation to data


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