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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98733 Find in a Library
Title: Computer Thieves Steal 2.5 Billion Pounds a Year
Journal: New Scientist  Dated:(July 7, 1983)  Pages:11-15
Author(s): J Lamb
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article discusses the incidence, nature, discovery, investigation, and prevention of computer-related crime, with particular attention to Great Britain.
Abstract: The most recent survey of computer crime in Great Britain was conducted by the Local Government Audit Inspectorate in 1981. The 319 organizations surveyed had lost 1 million pounds to fraud in the previous 5 years. Only 1 in 5 of those who replied admitted to having computers involved in their losses, constituting 67 cases of computer fraud. No banks responded. A major problem is the nonreporting of computer crime, as companies are apparently reluctant to report their employees to the police. Most computer crimes, some 90 percent according to the British National Computer Centre, involve putting false information into a computer to embezzle money. Banks, increasingly dependent on electronic funds transfer, are most at risk from skilled computer criminals. Presently, British banks do not use encryption to scramble the messages which move millions of pounds each day, and plans are underway that will enable customers' accounts to be debited directly from terminals installed on retail premises. Some security measures are being incorporated in computer systems, however. The Clearing House Automated Payments System (CHAPS), due to begin operations within a year, links computers in major banks over British Telecom's packet-switched network. CHAPS will contain data encryption standard chips, and some equipment connecting the computers to the network is enclosed with boxes wired with explosives designed to detonate if violated. The prosecution of computer crimes has been hampered by the difficulties of presenting computer evidence in the British courts. Unlike in the United States, Britain has no computer crime laws, so computer evidence such as printouts, programs, and logs must be tied to individuals who can be cross-examined. Another obstruction to dealing with computer crime is the lack of police training in the investigation of such crimes. Jargon for various types of computer crime is defined.
Index Term(s): Computer crime prevention measures; Computer privacy and security; Computer related crime; United Kingdom (UK)
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