Computer Crimes and the Law
For the past decades, computers are really very useful in different aspect of our life. Almost everything right now are all computer based. Along with this improvement and convenience brought by computers to our lives are some hi-tech problems too. I am talking about “computer crimes” that is really started to become alarming everywhere. Even FBI sees these rise of computer crimes (read the article about this here in Reuters).
As far as I could remember the Philippines passed the E-Commerce law last 2000 which they quickly made into law after the “LOVE LETTER virus” or “ILOVEYOU virus” or “Love bug” outbreak. Imagine the law just passed when someone already committed the crime and only to discover that it is not yet a crime because there’s no law that governs it the time it was committed. It was a highly “pressurized” law – pressured by international community who were victimized by this virus. As of today, I never heard someone get caught of hacking, cracking, phreaking, virus creation or duplication (imagine in our place alone a lot of version of a single virus was spread by simply renaming the virus, I am talking about a VBScript virus that uses autorun.inf), phishing or email spamming and scamming. Maybe these crime committing dark geniuses are really hard to track down and the authorities are having trouble putting them to jail.
The question right now is how could we protect ourselves from this kind of crimes. If you’re always online and your life is online everyday, you are not immune to this kind of problem, no one is. I have several advice that might help you protect yourself from these forms of cyber crimes:
- Install an anti-virus program. Despite some viruses can get through anti-virus protection, it is still better to have an anti-virus than no protection at all. Some viruses today are used by some hackers to steal some confidential information from your computer so it is better that you are not infected by it in any way possible. It is because when you are already infected by this computer virus even after it was cured, it leaves your PC vulnerable since it opens a lot of security holes on your computer. Giving you an “open wound” PC that is easy to be attacked.
- Make use of the Firewall. If you could use a hardware type of firewall the better but if not try using a 3rd party firewall instead like the Comodo Firewall. This will protect your PC to be accessed remotely by unauthorized users.
- Do not open nor reply to spam mails. They usually solicit confidential information from their victims.
- Don’t reveal nor post your confidential information online such as social security number, bank account number or even your birth date, etc.
- Just visit reputable websites. Do not open website addresses or URLs directly from email (specially your online bank or money websites) . Sometimes phishers used fake websites just to collect your private information such as your credit number and other. Type the address directly on the address bar to be sure.