The Internet, sometimes called simply “the Net,” is a worldwide system of computer networks – a network of networks in which users at any one computer can, if they have permission, get information from any other computer (and sometimes talk directly to users at other computers). It was conceived by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the U.S. government in 1969 and was first known as the ARPANet. The original aim was to create a network that would allow users of a research computer at one university to “talk to” research computers at other universities. A side benefit of ARPANet’s design was that, because messages could be routed or rerouted in more than one direction, the network could continue to function even if parts of it were destroyed in the event of a military attack or other disaster.
Is Web and Internet the Same?
The Internet is not synonymous with World Wide Web. The Internet is a massive network of networks, a networking infrastructure. It connects millions of computers together globally, forming a network in which any computer can communicate with any other computer as long as they are both connected to the Internet. The World Wide Web, or simply Web, is a way of accessing information over the medium of the Internet. It is an information-sharing model that is built on top of the Internet.
An intranet is a private network that is contained within an enterprise. It may consist of many interlinked local area networks and also use leased lines in the wide area network. Typically, an intranet includes connections through one or more gateway computers to the outside Internet. The main purpose of an intranet is to share company information and computing resources among employees. An intranet can also be used to facilitate working in groups and for teleconferences.
An intranet uses TCP/IP, HTTP, and other Internet protocols and in general looks like a private version of the Internet. With tunneling, companies can send private messages through the public network, using the public network with special encryption/decryption and other security safeguards to connect one part of their intranet to another.
Typically, larger enterprises allow users within their intranet to access the public Internet through firewall servers that have the ability to screen messages in both directions so that company security is maintained. When part of an intranet is made accessible to customers, partners, suppliers, or others outside the company, that part becomes part of an extranet.
An Extranet is actually an Intranet that is partially accessible to authorized outsiders. The actual server (the computer that serves up the web pages) will reside behind a firewall. The firewall helps to control access between the Intranet and Internet permitting access to the Intranet only to people who are suitably authorized. The level of access can be set to different levels for individuals or groups of outside users. The access can be based on a username and password or an IP address (a unique set of numbers such as 220.127.116.11 that defines the computer that the user is on).
Uses of Internet
- Checking emails
It is reported that the first thing that 90 % of Internet users do when they connected to the net is to check if they have received any emails. Internet has drastically changed the mail pattern and has made it incredibly fast.
It is hard to find an Internet user, who has not used it to download music and movies. Apart from it, there are lots of other things that can be downloaded using internet as well.
- Search For Relevant Information
If you are not sure about something, then one of the easiest way to know more about it is by searching it on internet. Internet has got a huge database of information on almost every subject and one can easily find out lots of information on any topic using internet.
- Book Tickets
Online booking has made things really easy. Be it a movie ticket or flight ticket, you can book just about anything using Internet. The process is very easy, convenient and super fast.
- Shop Online
The use of internet is not limited merely to booking tickets. With help of net, you can do a full-fledged online shopping. On popular e-stores like Ebay, Amazon etc., one can find almost anything that he needs to buy. These e-stores are reliable and you can find quality products at most competitive rates on them; and all this can be done without even stepping out of your home!
- Make Friends
One of the best things about internet is that is has made communication very easy and convenient. World is a small place now and one can get connected to just about any part of the world without any problem. There are many sites and forums on net, where you can find likeminded people and make friends with them. All this is possible only due to internet.
Social networks have got really big since last decade. Facebook and Twitter are the new online hangouts of net-izens and who likes to share all the latest happening of their life on these social networks and keep their profile duly updated. Now it is possible to be in touch with all of your friends and relatives, however big they may count in numbers and all this is possible due to social networks, which acts as a very convenient and effective platform for online socialization.
- E Banking
Banking was never so easy and convenient before! Right from opening an account to operating it, E-Banking has really been a big boon for everyone. Not only can one view his account activities but he can also execute online transactions from the comfort of the home.
- Data Sharing
Data sharing was never so easy and quick before! It doesn’t matter, if you have to send a file or song, a picture or a ebook; with help of internet, you can send just about anything at anywhere and that too, in no time!
- Online Freelancer
Internet has also created great opportunities for people who are interested in working online as freelancers. Be it writing or web designing, e-commerce or entrepreneurship, now it is possible for everyone to show off his talent online and make a living out of it. Millions of freelancers make their living online and this number is increasing substantially every year.
And many more…
World Wide Web (WWW)
The Web, or World Wide Web, is basically system of Internet servers that support specially formatted documents. The documents are formatted in a markup language called HTML (HyperText Markup Language) that supports links to other documents, as well as graphics, audio, and video files.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, and is used to specify addresses on the World Wide Web. A URL is the fundamental network identification for any resource connected to the web (e.g., hypertext pages, images, and sound files). URLs have the following format: protocol://hostname/other_information.
A URL (Uniform Resource Locator, previously Universal Resource Locator) – usually pronounced by sounding out each letter but, in some quarters, pronounced “Earl” – is the unique address for a file that is accessible on the Internet. A common way to get to a Web site is to enter the URL of its home page file in your Web browser’s address line. However, any file within that Web site can also be specified with a URL. Such a file might be any Web (HTML) page other than the home page, an image file, or a program such as a common gateway interface application or Java applet. The URL contains the name of the protocol to be used to access the file resource, a domain name that identifies a specific computer on the Internet, and a pathname, a hierarchical description that specifies the location of a file in that computer.
E-mail (electronic mail) is the exchange of computer-stored messages by telecommunication. (Some publications spell it email; we prefer the currently more established spelling of e-mail.) E-mail messages are usually encoded in ASCII text. However, you can also send non-text files, such as graphic images and sound files, as attachments sent in binary streams. E-mail was one of the first uses of the Internet and is still the most popular use. A large percentage of the total traffic over the Internet is e-mail. E-mail can also be exchanged between online service provider users and in networks other than the Internet, both public and private.
E-mail or email is information stored on a computer that is exchanged between two users over telecommunications. More plainly, e-mail is a message that may contain text, files, images, or other attachments sent through a network to a specified individual or group of individuals. The first e-mail was sent by Ray Tomlinson in 1971. By 1996, more electronic mail was being sent than postal mail.
A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI/URL) and may be a web page, image, video or other piece of content.
A browser is an application program that provides a way to look at and interact with all the information on the World Wide Web. The word “browser” seems to have originated prior to the Web as a generic term for user interfaces that let you browse (navigate through and read) text files online.
Technically, a Web browser is a client program that uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to make requests of Web servers throughout the Internet on behalf of the browser user. Most browsers support e-mail and the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) but a Web browser is not required for those Internet protocols and more specialized client programs are more popular.
The first Web browser, called World Wide Web, was created in 1990. That browser’s name was changed to Nexus to avoid confusion with the developing information space known as the World Wide Web. The first Web browser with a graphical user interface was Mosaic, which appeared in 1993. Many of the user interface features in Mosaic went into Netscape Navigator. Microsoft followed with its Internet Explorer (IE).
A Web server is a program that uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to serve the files that form Web pages to users, in response to their requests, which are forwarded by their computers’ HTTP clients. Dedicated computers and appliances may be referred to as Web servers as well.
A Web server is a program that uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to serve the files that form Web pages to users, in response to their requests, which are forwarded by their computers’ HTTP clients. Dedicated computers and appliances may be referred to as Web servers as well.
The process is an example of the client/server model. All computers that host Web sites must have Web server programs. Leading Web servers include Apache (the most widely-installed Web server), Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) and nginx (pronounced engine X) from NGNIX. Other Web servers include Novell’s NetWare server, Google Web Server (GWS) and IBM’s family of Domino servers.
Web servers often come as part of a larger package of Internet- and intranet-related programs for serving email, downloading requests for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) files, and building and publishing Web pages. Considerations in choosing a Web server include how well it works with the operating system and other servers, its ability to handle server-side programming, security characteristics, and the particular publishing, search engine and site building tools that come with it.
HTML is a markup language for describing web documents (web pages).
- HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language
- A markup language is a set of markup tags
- HTML documents are described by HTML tags
- Each HTML tag describes different document content
It is a language for describing web-pages using ordinary text. HTML is not a complex programming language.
Every web page is actually a HTML file. Each HTML file is just a plain-text file, but with a .html file extension instead of .txt, and is made up of many HTML tags as well as the content for a web page.
A web site will often contain many html files that link to each other. You can edit HTML files with your favorite editor.
HTML tags are the hidden keywords within a web page that define how the browser must format and display the content.
Most tags must have two parts, an opening and a closing part. For example, <html> is the opening tag and </html> is the closing tag. Note that the closing tag has the same text as the opening tag, but has an additional forward-slash ( / ) character. I tend to interpret this as the “end” or “close” character.
Computer Crime or Electronic Crime is a term where a computer is the target of a crime or is the means adopted to commit a crime. Computer Crime is the name given to any type of electronic fraud, which covers credit and debit cards, electronic funds transfer, software piracy and any other general misuse of a computer system. Some crimes can remain undiscovered for long periods, or are never reported at all and many companies that have been victims of fraud are thus unwilling to expose the fact.
Similar to other various aspects of our lives, major crimes have gone high tech. But it’s important to remember that it’s not the computers that commit crimes – it’s the crime of people that use the computers, and the outcome of their mistake to business and society is huge.
The worldwide access of information through computers has let criminals carry out such negative actions without difficulty. Proper security measures, both technical and moral, should be implemented in practice to stop the future disasters that may take place.
Examples of Computer Crime
The following are some examples of computer crime:
- Software Piracy
- Internet Fraud
- Computer Virus
It defined as, “deliberately gaining unauthorized access to an information system” and, in extreme cases, it may amount to industrial espionage or a national security crime when the defendant accesses commercially or nationally sensitive materials.
White Hackers: The hackers motivate the Information Holders to further secure their data by pointing to their flaws without doing any kind of offensive destruction.
Black Hackers: The hackers break into other’s information system to have an unauthorized access.
The terms grey hackers or brown hackers are often used to describe ones, who lie on the borderline of above two.
The theft of software, the copying of licensed software without permission, and software counterfeiting are some examples of piracy. These are not only a matter for the security personnel but can also involve customs officers, agencies tasked to protect consumers and holders, and agencies responsible for ensuring that advertising is not misleading.
It is pornography (the representation of the human body or human sexual behavior with the goal of sexual stimulation) that is distributed via the Internet, primarily via websites, peer-to-peer file sharing software and through newsgroups. A substantial quantity of both hardcore and softcore pornography, including material designed to appeal to pedophiles, is available on the Internet.
It is irritating the defendant by sending obscenities and insulting comments, focusing on gender, race, religion, nationality etc. This often occurs in chat rooms, through newsgroups, and by sending hate e-mail to interested parties.
It is any dishonest misrepresentation of fact intended to induce another to do or refrain from doing something which causes loss.
The fraud may result in obtaining a benefit by:
- Altering computer input in an unauthorized way.
- Altering, destroying, suppressing, or stealing output, usually to hide unauthorized transactions that are difficult to detect.
- Altering or deleting stored data.
- Altering or misusing existing system tools or software packages, or altering or writing code for fraudulent purposes.
In computer technology, a virus is a self-replicating program that spreads by inserting copies of itself into other executable code or documents. A computer virus behaves in a way similar to a biological virus, which spreads by inserting itself into living cells.
Extending the analogy, the insertion of a virus into the program is termed as an infection and the infected file (or executable code that is not part of a file) is called a host. Viruses are one of the several types of malicious software or malware.
Virus can only spread from one computer to another when its host is taken to the uninfected computer, for instance by a user sending it over a network or carrying it on a removable medium. Viruses can infect different types of hosts. The most common targets are executable files that contain application software or parts of the operating system. Viruses have also infected the executable boot sectors of floppy disks, script files of application programs, and documents that can contain macro scripts.
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to stop information about them from becoming known to people other than those whom they choose to give the information. Sometimes it may be voluntarily sacrificed, normally in exchange for perceived benefits, very often with specific dangers and losses.
It is the use of another person’s work (this could be his or her words, products or ideas) for personal advantage, without proper acknowledgement of the original work, and with the intention of passing it off as one’s own work.
It may occur deliberately (with the intention to deceive) or accidentally (due to poor referencing).
It encompasses copying material from a book, copying and pasting information from the World Wide Web, receiving help from unauthorized sources on coursework, and copying answers from a fellow student during an examination (presuming the copied work isn’t attributed). Plagiarism and cheating are not the same; cheating takes many forms, including but not limited to deliberate plagiarism.
SOFTWARE PIRACY AND ANTI PIRACY
The biggest legal issue affecting the computer industry is software piracy, which is the illegal copying of computer programs and operating systems. Piracy is a huge problem because it is easy to do. Software pirate give up the right to receive upgrades and technical support, but they gain the use of the program without paying for it.
Many commercial software programs- software you must purchase before using- cost as little as $20 to $50, but many of the most popular productivity application cost $100 to $500. Highly specialized or complex applications can cost thousands of dollars. When you consider the cost or commercial software, it is easy to see why illegal copying is so tempting for the pirate and so expensive for software companies.
It is important to remember that, in most cases, when you pay for commercial software, you are not actually buying the software itself. Instead, you are paying for a license to use the software. A software license (also called an end user license agreement) is an agreement between you and the software company, giving you permission to install and use the program. Although software licensing agreements can vary in their terms, they actually place restrictions on the user, such as allowing the user to make only backup copy of the program for safekeeping.
Shareware also suffers from the high piracy rate; however freeware does not. Shareware is software you can use for free on a trial basis, usually for a limited time. If you decide to keep and use the software; you are required to register your copy of the program and sometimes pay a small license fee to the developer. Freeware is software that is available free of charge; it can be copied and distributed by anyone. Shareware and freeware are available from many different sources, and they are very easy to find on the Internet.
How pirates work??
Software is pirated in many ways. The simplest method is to copy the software from its original floppy disks or CD. Users on a network can copy certain types of software directly from the server or even exchange programs over their organization’s e-mail. Determined, sophisticated pirates can crack a program’s built in registration or copy protection system, an ability that has earned them the nickname “crackers”.
The internet has become the biggest hotbed of piracy because pirates distribute programs by emails, across World Wide Web sites, on FTP servers, in newsgroups, and through chat rooms. Certain Web sites and newsgroups- most notably the Warez (wares) sites and newsgroups- have become notorious for posting entire operating system, upgrades, and commercial applications for anyone to download and use.
A favorite target of pirates is beta software– software that is in the developmental stage and not ready for release to customers. Many commercial software developers make beta version of software available to large groups of people and return feedback about its performance. This process helps developers find problems with the program and get user opinions before the software is released. Beta software commonly falls into hands of pirates who distribute it online or on duplicated disks. Many developers built time-out feature into beta software, which disables the software after a certain date. Sophisticated pirates however can develop work around to this feature enabling the program to run indefinitely.
Some common types of software piracy include:
- Soft lifting: Purchasing a single licensed copy of software and loading it onto several computers contrary to the license terms.
- Uploading and downloading: Making unauthorized copies of copyrighted software available to end users connected to the internet.
- Software counterfeiting: Illegally duplicating and selling copyrighted software in a form designed to make it appear legitimate.
- OEM unbundling (Original Equipment Manufacturer): Selling standalone software that was intended to be bundled with specific accompanying hardware.
- Hard disk loading: Installing unauthorized copied of software onto a hard disks of personal computers, often as an incentive for the end user to buy the hardware from the particular hardware dealer.
- Renting: unauthorized selling of software for temporary use.
It is the term used to describe the attempt to prevent copyright violation. It describes the method to stopping piracy and focuses on how the original writer can be prevented from being cheated.
Various forms of copy protection have been used to discourage piracy, including:
- Installing diskettes that record the number of times the software is installed.
This method fails as the duplicate diskettes are made and used instead of the original.
- Hardware locks, without which the program cannot function.
As this causes many problems than it solve are not used.
- Passwords, serial numbers, or other codes required for installation.
This type of protection worked well for years but the proliferation of CD-R and CD-RW systems, the illegal duplication of software from the original CD is becoming more common.
No antipiracy scheme is foolproof.
COMPUTER VIRUS AND SPYWARE
A virus is a parasitic program that infects another legitimate program, which is sometimes called the host. To infect the host program, the virus modifies the host to store a copy of the virus. Many viruses are programmed to do harm once they infect the victim’s system, but the ability to do damage is not what defines the virus. To qualify as a virus, a program must be able to replicate (make copies of) itself. This can copy itself to different places on the same computer or looking for ways to reach other computer, such as by infecting disks or travelling across networks. Viruses can be programmed to replicate and travel in many ways. The majority of viruses are relatively harmless; their purpose is to annoy their victims rather than to cause specific damage. Such virus is called benign but some can damage computer system if permitted to run.
Categories of viruses:
- Boot sector virus:
Regarded as one of the most hostile types of virus, a boot sector virus infects the boot record of a hard disk or floppy disk. (A boot sector is a special area of a disk that stores essential files the computer accesses during start-up). The virus moves the boot sector’s data to a different part of the disk. When the computer is started, the virus copies itself in memory where it can hide and infect other disks. The virus allows the actual boot sector data to be read as though a normal start-up were occurring.
A worm is a program whose purpose is to duplicate itself. An effective worm will fill entire disks with copies of itself, and it can spread to multiple computers on a network, essentially clogging the entire system with copies.
- Trojan Horse:
Viruses are spread in several ways. The most common are:
- Receiving an infected disk.
- Downloading an infected executable file from a network or the internet.
- Copying a document file that is infected with a macro virus.
To avoid virus, one should:
- Treat all disks as though they are infected.
- Install an antivirus program (some popular antivirus software include: McAfee VirusScan, Virex, NOD 32, AVG, Norton Antivirus, Kaspersky, etc.) and keep its virus definition (database of virus information) up to date.
- Run your antivirus program regularly.
Spyware is computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user’s interaction with the computer, without the user’s informed consent.
While the term spyware suggests software that secretly monitors the user’s behavior, the functions of spyware extend well beyond simple monitoring. Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information, such as Internet surfing habit, sites that have been visited, but can also interfere with user control of the computer in other ways, such as installing additional software, redirecting Web browser activity, accessing websites blindly that will cause more harmful viruses, or diverting advertising revenue to a third party. Spyware can even change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and loss of Internet or other programs. In an attempt to increase the understanding of spyware, a more formal classification of its included software types is captured under the term privacy-invasive software.
In response to the emergence of spyware, a small industry has sprung up dealing in anti-spyware software. Running anti-spyware software has become a widely recognized element of computer security best practices for Microsoft Windows desktop computers. A number of jurisdictions have passed anti-spyware laws, which usually target any software that is surreptitiously installed to control a user’s computer.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN COMPUTING
As our technology gives wonderful new powers, we are faced with many ethical dilemmas. Lawmakers, activists and everyday computers users will ponder these questions for some time. Laws will certainly be passed, challenged, enacted, and struck down. But until a set of laws is established for ethical computer use, personal ethics and common sense must guide us as we work and play with computers, both online and offline.
Here is sample code of conduct, suggested by the Computer Ethics Institute:
- Do not use a computer to harm other people.
- Do not interfere with other people’s computer work.
- Do not snoop around in other people’s computer files.
- Do not use a computer to bear false witness.
- Do not use computer to steal.
- Do not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid.
- Do not use other people’s computer resources without authorization or proper compensation.
- Do not appropriate other people’s intellectual output.
- Always think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing.
- Always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for your fellow humans.
The term ‘cyber law’ refers to all the legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the World Wide Web. Anything concerned with or related to any legal aspects concerning any activity of citizens and others in Cyberspace comes within the domain of Cyber law. As Internet is growing rapidly, Cyberspace, thus Cyber Law is becoming the new preferred environment of the world.
The following are some of the scopes that are covered by the boundary of Cyber Laws:
- Intellectual Property Law
- Electronic and Digital Signature Law
- Data Protection and Privacy Law
- Telecommunication Law
- Computer Crime Law
Intellectual Property Law
It denotes the definite legal rights that the authors, investors and other Intellectual Property holders may hold an expertise. These laws are designed to protect various forms of intangible subject matters like
- Copyright exists in many computer related creative works like software, source code discovery etc.
- Patent right exists in software and hardware tasks that lets the inventor to exploit the invention right for certain period of time.
- Trademark is a distinctive sign, logos, and domain names that distinguish the products and software of one business from that of another.
- Industrial design right protects the appearance of one business product from that of another (spare parts, textures, colors, shape, and size etc).
- A trade secret is confidential information related to the work procedure of the organization.
Electronic and Digital Signature Law
Electronic Signatures (especially Digital Signatures) are fast becoming the de-facto standard for authentication of electronic records, Electronic Data Interchange, Emails etc. Comprehensive laws are required so that uniform standards and procedures can be established. These laws relating to Electronic Signatures e.g. the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of the USA are part of cyber law.
Electronic Law also includes the Encryption Policies and Standard. But, in some of the developed countries, Encryption Laws are made and issued separately. In this case, Electronic Law basically focuses on Digital Signatures, Digital Transaction and Business Policies and Standards.
Data Protection and Privacy Law
Many nations have enacted legislation relating to data protection and privacy within their jurisdictions. It is pertinent to note that due to the nature of the Internet and the amount of information that may be accessed through it, such legislation is critical to protect the fundamental rights of privacy of an individual. These laws would probably play a vital role, as the dependence on insecure networks such as the Internet grows further.
In general, Data Protection and Privacy issues are covered on the Copyright Law and Patent Law. So, in reality, there may not be the existence of separate Data Protection and Privacy Law.
As has been seen above cyberspace does not only include the Internet and computers, but is present where two or more cables or wires etc meet. Telecommunication systems also fall within the range of cyber space and therefore would form an integral part of cyber laws.
Of course, Telecommunication is one of the major essences of the Cyberspace but Telecommunication Laws are not covered under Cyber Laws because Telecommunication Laws also deal about non-routing telecommunication standards.
In content of Nepal, Nepal has already issued-
- Electronic Transaction Act 2061(Includes Digital Signature, Data Encryption, Cyber Crime, e-business model issues)
- Copyright Law 2059 (includes Intellectual property, copyright and patent issues)
- Telecommunication Law 2053
Computer Crime Law
Our growing dependence on computers and the internet has made us all potential victims of Internet threats. In order to control these threats, it is necessary to enact legislation or have to adopt the existing laws to make computer crime under the statues.
Junk Mails and Faxes, Spam blocking, Privacy in corporate computers.