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The Cyber Citizen

 

 
Following examples to help explain the scope of seriousness surrounding cyber crimes.

 

Real World vs. Virtual World
Personal threats vs. Inapporpriate e-mails

 

Just as it is illegal to threaten, harass or stalk others in person, e-mail should be no exception for these acts. E-mail can create a shield of anonymity for the computer user, making communication seem less impactful. Upon first becoming acquainted with e-mail use, children should learn proper communication "tone." Additionally, kids can be exploited by e-mail scams that might lure them into illegal activities that involve hacking, distribution of counterfeit products and the like.

 

 
  Stealing of property vs. Hacking  
 

 

Hacking, breaking into, or "cracking" refers to manipulation of or
intentional damage to another computer or computers. Hacking can
take a variety of forms, from cracking computer codes and stealing
classified information to vandalizing a Web site.

Illegal entry into a computer system can create a virtual avalanche
of destruction, causing serious consequences. Computer viruses are infiltrating computers systems across the country at an
ever-increasing rate. If a virus were to disable the computer
network of a hospital, it could shut down medical instrumentation
systems that control life support and monitoring functions-all of
which could cost a patient his or her life.

Almost every sector of the economy -- from transportation and
financial transactions to emergency services and power distribution
-- depends on computers. Disruption of any or all of these
operations can result in consequences ranging from monetary losses to catastrophic loss of life.

 

 
  Stealing tapes or CDs vs Counterfeit and pirated warez  
 

 

The Internet is a useful and convenient tool that allows people to find almost anything they want, including products and services that belong to others. Most of us know that we should not go into a store and take software, movies, or CD, without permission. It can be just as wrong, however, to take music or software from the Internet without the permission of the copyright owner.

It is easy to understand why the theft of an object is wrong; it is more difficult for children to understand the concept of theft of intellectual property. It is important that we teach our kids that they should not download pirated or counterfeit material. They should not download otherwise copyrighted works without permission. There are many websites where the authors of material encourage downloading. It is not wrong to download from these sites. Many others do not. Parents may want to try to learn more about copyright and trademark laws to learn if their kids are behaving ethically. Two places to learn more information are the Department of Justice at www.cybercrime.gov and the U.S. Copyright office at www.copyright.gov.

One way that people share counterfeit and pirated goods on the Internet is at "warez" sites. Even though they don't have permission to do so, these websites share copies of software, movies, music, and other goods at discounted rates, or sometimes, even for free. Those who set up and use such sites can find themselves in trouble with the law or being sued by the companies who own the rights to the goods being offered on the site.

 

 
  Plagiarism and stealing ideas vs Claiming others' online content or design as your own.  
 

 

It is important to teach kids that drawings or content from Web sites are ideas that belong to someone else. Copying these for use in a school project or paper assignment without a reference to where they came from is plagiarism. This is just the same as if your child stole a classmate's homework assignment and tried to turn it in as his/her own. Any use of materials or artwork should be cited appropriately.
 
 

 

Blocking a tunnel vs. Denial-of-service attack
 
 

 

Imagine if you couldn't get to work one morning because someone had blocked the tunnel or bridge you need to cross to get there. You and thousands of others would be stuck on one or the other side, unable to attend to all the things you do every day at your job. This is like what happened to CNN, Yahoo!, eBay and other Web sites that were victim to "denial-of-service" attacks when their Web sites were closed down by hackers.
 

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