Divine Revelation

A blog with an Islamic perspective

The Council of Europe an international organization of 47 member states (not to be confused with the European Union) held a conference on cybercrime on 11 and 12 June in the Franco-German border city of Strasbourg. The conference aimed at encouraging countries to sign up to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and its Additional Protocol related to criminal acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, and improving international co-operation in tackling new forms of cybercrime.
Cybercrime is a term used to describe activity in which computers / computer networks are a used as a tool to commit a crime or the computer / computer networks are itself a target or a place of criminal activity.
Examples of cybercrime wherein the computer is used as tool are:
1) Spamming: which means sending endless emails or bulk messaging for the purpose of advertising or plain nuisance.
2) Intellectual Property and Copyright infringement related
Examples of cybercrime wherein the computer is a target include:
1) Breaching network security i.e. trying to access computer networks illegally by cracking passwords and other security measures.
2) Spreading malicious code commonly known as computer virus to damage / disrupt computer resources.
3) Denial of service attacks: can be understood as a deliberate attempt to slow down or disrupt internet networks / servers so that users may not be able to access internet websites or services.
Some traditional crimes in which computer networks are used may also fall under the category of cybercrime like:
1) Phishing: means trying to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity over the internet.
2) Identity theft occurs when a person's means of identification has been exploited for an unlawful purpose. A good example of identity theft is when a Bob obtains a loan from a financial institution impersonating Peter. Thus Bob uses Peter's personal secret identifiers that he has somehow acquired, committing economic fraud.
3) we have some well known crimes like child pornography, online gambling and securities fraud.
4) Harassing and abusing women online has given rise to a new cybercrime called Cyberstalking.
Crimes like trade secret theft and industrial or economic espionage are sometimes considered cybercrimes when computers or networks are involved.
Cybercrime can also be analyzed in the context of propaganda related web-warfare in which attempts are made to hack into sites that espouse causes that one may be opposed to politically or ideologically. For example attempts by anti-Islamic groups to hack into Islamic sites and turned many of them into pornographic sites. Other cybercrimes are online scams by cyber-criminals which include setting up bogus companies on the Internet. Unsuspecting buyers are offered products at tempting prices, and then supply their credit card details - only to find that the site suddenly does the vanishing act ripping off people of their hard earned money.
Most companies are by now sufficiently aware about the threat from cybercrime and they now employ ways and means to test the security of their computer networks. This has spawned a new breed of IT specialists called Network Security Consultants or Ethical Hackers and given rise to a spate of Anti Virus program companies.
Islam says that the criterion of right and wrong can be correctly determined only after ascertaining man's place and status in the universe. Islam tells us clearly that the status of man in this world is that of an `abd (God's servant or slave) who is also Khulifat-ul-Allah (Allah's deputy and vicegerent). All things in the world belong to God. Man has been appointed as a vicegerent to follow and implement God's rules and regulations which have been sent through Divine books and Gods chosen Prophets.
Man sins if he disobeys God and commits a crime if he crosses the Hudood (limits) imposed by God. Islam considers crime an act of injustice towards society, a sin against oneself and a transgression against Allah. Punishment is not atonement nor does it erase the sin. A sin is only forgiven through repentance. However, crime is an act of inflicting harm upon society that cannot be forgiven by repentance alone. There must be a penal system to punish the offender and protect society from reoccurrence of the crime. An environment of healthy morality and faith must be the norm, where to do right is encouraged and to do wrong is discouraged and found difficult. In fact, commanding right and forbidding wrong is a foremost duty in Islam.
Thus all measures that are taken to tackle cybercrime need to be welcomed and offered wholehearted cooperation.
This article also appeared in Radiance Viewsweekly and can be seen by clicking LINK

Posted by Arshad on Saturday, July 28, 2007.

0 Responses to “Tackling Cybercrime”

Post a Comment