Computer viruses and worms
Computer viruses and worms (Forensic Science)
Given the capacity of computer viruses and worms to spread to millions of computers within minutes and cause billions of dollars in damage, the distribution of malware is a criminal act. In the United States, causing damage to a computer connected to the Internet is a federal crime that carries substantial penalties for those convicted. The principal U.S. law-enforcement weapon against malware is the Computer fraud and Abuse Act of 1984.
Many dangerous computer viruses have been spread through e-mail attachments and files downloaded from Web sites, and a rise has been seen in the numbers of professional virus writers—that is, people who are paid to infect computers with malware. Tracking down and catching virus authors is extremely difficult. The investigative methods used in this work include analyzing virus code for clues about the authors; searching online bulletin boards, where virus authors may boast of their accomplishments; and reviewing network log files for originating IP (Internet protocol) addresses of viruses. Even when law-enforcement agencies make concerted efforts in applying these techniques, it is still near impossible to track down virus and worm authors.
Some malware authors have been apprehended, however. When the Melissa virus overwhelmed commercial, government, and military computer systems in 1999, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched the largest Internet manhunt ever. Investigators succeeded in...
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Further Reading (Forensic Science)
Dwight, Ken. Bug-Free Computing: Stop Viruses, Squash Worms, and Smash Trojan Horses. Houston: TeleProcessors, 2006.
Erbschloe, Michael. Trojans, Worms, and Spyware: A Computer Security Professional’s Guide to Malicious Code. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005.
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