E-CrimeE-Crime is a general term used to classify the investigation of criminal offences, where computers or other electronic devices have been utilised in some manner to facilitate the commission of an offence.
Some of the more common offences that are committed via this medium include credit card fraud, online auction fraud, computer hacking, and the forwarding of offensive/menacing or harassing emails. With the ongoing growth of Internet and email usage, consumers need to remain vigilant against those unscrupulous persons who prey on the unsuspecting.
You can protect yourself by learning how to recognize the danger signs of e-crime. Some matters may appear on the surface to be criminal offences, however this is not always true and you may only have recourse via civil action. There is National and State legislation available to assist law enforcement agencies in the prosecution of offenders for these types of offences. These agencies have the prerequisite skills and resources available to them to effectively coordinate and investigate these matters.
If you are a victim of a criminal offence it is important to report the matter quickly to your local police, so that law enforcement agencies can commence investigations to locate the offender/s.
In Queensland, if the matter requires urgent or specialist investigative action that cannot be provided by your local police, then the matter may be referred to your local Criminal Investigation Branch or the Computer Crime Investigation Unit.
The Computer Crime Investigation Unit specialises in the investigation of e-crime and provides advice and assistance to police throughout the State as required.
For any further advice please contact your local Criminal Investigation Branch or the Computer Crime Investigation Unit.
The following information is provided as a brief guide to assist in preventing E-crime:
- Develop and implement appropriate system failure procedures
- Review and investigate security violation reports
- Ensure physical security of equipment and storage devices
- Don't share identification numbers and passwords
- Change passwords on a regular basis
- Regularly monitor dial-up facilities of users
- Cancel access to data when employees transfer, leave or no longer require access
- Review work quality and develop a sound system of controlling employees with access to data
- Install a firewall
- Install virus protection software and maintaining updates on a regular basis
- Always check bank account transactions/balances and report discrepancies immediately to your financial institution
- Keep your computer in a family room so that you can monitor its use
- Report the matter quickly to police if it is a criminal matter
- Avoid opening unsolicited emails, delete them immediately and do not respond to the inquirer
- Retain original offensive/menacing/harassing emails
- Consider the use of a third party to hold payment in trust until you receive an item purchased via an online auction site
- Do not automatically check boxes before reading the contents of any agreement etc
- Educate yourself on a regular basis of the methods used by offenders to commit this type of crime
- Do not automatically divulge personal information to persons who have solicited contact with you, without checking their credentials
- Store personal information such as passwords on a separate storage device rather than on the computer hard-drive
Failure to adequately monitor access to information and computer equipment can result in:
- Overcharging of internet usage accounts
- Destruction/corruption of data due to infection from a virus
- Unauthorised use of personal information
- Unauthorised release of confidential and sensitive information
- Theft of data for commercial purposes
- Theft of equipment
- Unauthorised use of credit cards
- Being locked out of your own computer
- Failing to receive items purchased via the internet
- Receipt of unwanted emails
- Children accessing adult sites or being subjected to unwanted advances via email or chatlines
Most risks are caused by poor security and the lack of education concerning what can happen to you when using this type of medium. Some of the causes that may result in you becoming a victim are:
- The sharing of identification numbers and passwords
- Unauthorised access from remote location (hacking)
- Unauthorised access by non-authorised employees
- Poor computer security
- Not securing data files and listings
- Not implementing appropriate computer security changes after staff leaving
- Poor physical security
- Abusing legitimate access
- Viruses or other wilful damage caused by disgruntled employees or competitors
- Opening unsolicited emails requesting personal information
- Failing to check the dial-up phone number when logging in to the internet
- Failure to check bank account transactions/balances
- Storing passwords in files on computers
- Responding to emails from unknown sources
- Failure to educate your children on the risks of the internet/chatrooms
- Divulging personal information to persons you do not know and who have solicited contact with you
- Allowing children to have a computer in their own room
- Failure to conduct your own inquiries on persons selling via the internet
Please click on the links at the side of this page for further advice concerning e-crime.