The internet was born around 1960’s where its access was limited to few scientists, researchers and the defence only. Initially the computer crime was only confined to making a physical damage to the computer and related infrastructure. Around 1980’s the trend changed from causing the physical damaging to computers to making a computer malfunction using a malicious code called virus. In 1996, when internet was launched for the public, it immediately became popular among the masses and they slowly became dependent on it to an extent that it has changed their lifestyle. The focus of the computer crime shifted from merely damaging the computer or destroying or manipulating data for personal benefit to financial crime. These computer attacks are increasing at a rapid phase. Every second around 25 computers became victim to cyber attack and around 800 million individuals are affected by it till 2013. CERT-India has reported around 308371 Indian websites to be hacked till 2013. If a hacker who have hacked sensitive data from an organization may use it for financially exploiting the organization himself. In case, the hacker himself has the technical expertise for it, he will do it himself, otherwise he may find a buyer who is interested in that data and have the technical expertise. There are some cyber criminals’ offers on-demand and service.
The person, organization or a country may contact these cyber criminals for hacking an organization to gain access to some sensitive data, or create massive denial-of –service attack on their competitors. Based on the demand of the customer the hackers write malware, virus, etc to suit their requirements. An organization affected by a cyber attack, not only faces financial loss, but its reparation is also adversely affected, and the competitor organization will defiantly benefited by it. It is also estimated that around $160 million are lost per year due to cyber crime. According to the 2013-14 report of the standing committee on Information Technology to the 15th Lok Sabha by ministry of communication and information technology, India is a third largest number do Internet users throughout the world with an estimated 100 million internet users as on June, 2011 and the numbers are growing rapidly. There are around 22 million broadband connections in India till date operated by around 134 major Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Before discussing the matter further, let us know what the cyber crime is? The term Cyber Crime is used to describe an unlawful activity in which computer or computing devices such as smart phones, tablets, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), etc. which are stand alone or a part of a network are used as a tool or/and target of criminal activity. It is often committed by the people of destructive and criminal mindset either for revenge, greed or adventure.
Classification of Cyber Crimes:
The cyber criminal could be internal or external to the organization facing the cyber attack. Based on this fact, the cyber crime could be categorized into two types:
(i) Insider Attack: An attack to the network or the computer system by some person with authorized system access is known as insider attack. It is generally performed by dissatisfied or unhappy inside employees or contractors. The motive of the insider attack could be revenge or greed. It is comparatively easy for an insider to perform a cyber attack as he is well aware of the policies, processes, IT architecture and wellness of the security system. Moreover, the attackers have an access to the network. Therefore it is comparatively easy for a insider attacker to steel sensitive information, crash the network, etc. In most of the cases the reason for insider attack is when a employee is fired or assigned new roles in an organization, and the role is not reflected in the IT policies. This opens a versatility window for the attacker. The insider attack could be prevented by planning and installing an internal intrusion detection system (IDS) in the organization.
(ii) External Attack: When the attacker is either hired by an insider or an external entity to the organization, it is known as external attack. The organization which is a victim of cyber attack not only faces financial loss but also the loss of reputation. Since the attacker is external to the organization, so these attackers usually scan and gathering information. An experienced network/security administrator keeps regular eye on the log generated by the firewalls as external attacks can be traced out by carefully analyzing these firewall logs. Also, Intrusion Detection Systems are installed to keep an eye on external attacks. The cyber attacks can also be classified as structure attacks and unstructured attacks based on the level of maturity of the attacker. Some of the authors have classified these attacks as a form of external attacks but there is precedence of the cases when a structured attack was performed by an internal employee. This happens in the case when the competitor company wants the future strategy of an organization on certain points. The attacker may strategically gain access to the company as an employee and access the required information. Unstructured attacks: These attacks are generally performed by amateurs who don’t have any predefined motives to perform the cyber attack. Usually these amateurs try to test a tool readily available over the internet on the network of a random company.
(iii) Structure Attack: These types of attacks are performed by highly skilled and experienced people and the motives of these attacks are clear in their mind. They have access to sophisticated tools and technologies to gain access to other networks without being noticed by their Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSs). Moreover, these attackers have the necessary expertise to develop or modify the existing tools to satisfy their purpose. These types of attacks are usually performed by professional criminals, by a country on other rival countries, politicians to damage the image of the rival person or the country, terrorists, rival companies, etc.
Cyber crimes have turned out to be a low-investment, low-risk business with huge returns. Now-a-days these structured crimes are performed are highly organized. There is a perfect hierarchical organizational setup like formal organizations and some of them have reached a level in technical capabilities at par with those of developed nation. They are targeting large financial organizations, defence and nuclear establishments and they are also into online drugs trading.
Figure: Hierarchical Organizational Structure
The role of all the people in the hierarchy remain changing and it is based on the opportunity If a hacker who have hacked sensitive data from an organization may use it for financially exploiting the organization himself. In case, the hacker himself has the technical expertise for it, he will do it himself, otherwise he may find a buyer who is interested in that data and have the technical expertise.
There are some cyber criminals’ offers on-demand and service. The person, organization or a country may contact these cyber criminals for hacking an organization to gain access to some sensitive data, or create massive denial-of –service attack on their competitors. Based on the demand of the customer the hackers write malware, virus, etc to suit their requirements. An organization affected by a cyber attack, not only faces financial loss, but its reparation is also adversely affected, and the competitor organization will defiantly benefited by it.