This specifically happens with online roleplaying games like travian and runescape.
People look for shortcuts, we humans are a lazy breed. The shortcut this time is a software or script that can automate the boring parts of the game. We will take the example of travian game for today’s discussion.
Travian is a web based strategy game. You signup and you become a head of a village. Now its your job to continuously increase all the resources in your village. As your resources grow, so does your village. It takes time, and its fun. But people have built automated scripts to execute all these tasks. Now there remains no point of playing fair. Those who are playing fair will get crushed by the sheer brute force of people using bots. They could execute tasks at the speed not humanely possible.
This destroys the community. Regular and dedicated gamers soon start leaving the community and it destroys something beautiful for us all. It is my sincere request to people worldwide to stop using automation scripts to gain unfair advantage in the game.
While playing and researching for travian, I came across their de-facto automation tool called travian bot. Apparently most people have been using this software to take shortcuts and auto-solve obstacles in the game.
How are most of the cybercrimes executed using botnets?
Internet penetration has vastly increased over the years. Almost every person has a smart phone these days. In short, technology has flourished at the speed which has surprised everyone. Crime has also become digital. All the usual criminal activities such as robbery, harassment, fraud and identity theft have gone digital. As it has been stated in other pages of this website, cybercrime is any crime in which a computer or computer network is either the facilitator, medium or the target of a criminal activity. Today we will discuss some of the common types of cyber crimes that happen over the Internet.
Commercial Frauds using Banking Botnets
Most of the frauds that take place on the Internet are commercial in nature. Hackers might hack into your personal bank accounts to access your money, they might see your credit card information to make expensive purchases online. If you have used your credit card on a shopping website, hackers can try to gain access to the data which is stored on the server of that website. Through such tactics they can also gain access to other information such as your Social Security numbers using which they can further take out loans and debts in that particular person’s name. This is your typical identity theft.
Such hackers usually carry out such operations using the wireless Internet connections of other innocent people in order to avoid detection.
They also utilize a software defined networking system called a VPN, which basically allows them to use an Internet protocol address which is based off in a geographical location which is different from theirs. In small cases this in itself is enough to avoid legal consequences of actions.
Botnets are huge part of this online crime syndicate. A botnet is basically a collection of huge numbers of infected computers. Hackers first code malware which allows them to remotely access and control the victims computer. They then propagate this malware through various infected websites, and by binding it with software that looks harmless.
Once executed the malware remains hidden on the victims PC. Everything you do after this will be communicated to the command and control center of the botnet, where the hacker can access all your information.
Before we rush into the legal aspects of cybercrime, let us first discuss the definition of cybercrime.
What is cybercrime?
As more and more people and devices are connected to the Internet and other networks, cybercrime will continue to rise. The risk increases in direct proportion to the number of people and devices involved. In simple words cybercrime is any crime which was facilitated by computers or computer networks. There are multiple types of cyber crimes, and each cannot fit under one single rule. We need to look at different types of cybercrime with varied perspectives.
Cybercrime: the bigger picture.
As more and more commercial transactions take place over the Internet and other networks, cybercrime becomes more and more lucrative for criminals. It is already a much bigger source of income for criminals, than say drug smuggling. Take identity theft for example. In the United States of America alone, twenty instances of identity theft take place. The Internet is at the heart of all this. A normal home PC without high-end malware protection system can easily fall victim to Trojans and viruses, simply due to casual web surfing. Botnets, which can hold and control swarms of infected computers worldwide, become more and more sophisticated every passing day.
With the advent of encrypted digital currencies it becomes much easier for criminals to cash out.
The type of cybercrime committed, and the methods involved depend on a lot of factors. Ranging from their skill set to their target or goal, digital crime can take various forms.
Here is a list of some of the common cyber crimes committed worldwide.
- Identity theft or theft of any other personal information.
- Violating copyrights of organizations or individuals.
- Digital fraud and wire fraud.
- Cyber bullying.
- Stalking people on the Internet.
It is evident from the list above that the width of this topic is very large. The measures involved towards addressing each of these problems are unique from each other. The computer or computer network can be the target, the facilitator or the agent and the crime involved. The only way to truly understand this broader range of topics is to divide it into simpler more well-defined parts.