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Outline ways by which information can be misused

Ways in which information can be misused The Internet is not only used by innocent members of the public, but also by fraudulent traders, software pirates, hackers and con-artists, to name but a few. Here are a few ways in which information can be misused:

Violation of privacy Users have passwords to keep their data private and secure it from being stolen or modified. Some computer users such as hackers use software to decipher codes and passwords to gain unauthorised access to computer systems for their own illegal purposes. This violation of privacy resulted in the creation of the Computer Misuse Act of 1990, where users if found guilty were punishable by fines or imprisonment.

There are three levels of hacking:

Viewing another user's information without permission o

this includes accessing someone's files or email or accessing their personal information without their knowledge or permission.

Using accessed information for illegal purposes


the information that the user has, is accessed by the hacker and used as blackmail or for unfair advantage

Altering accessed information for fraudulent purposes


the hacker alters the accessed information, such as changing figures on bank accounts or deleting files

Propaganda This is a form of communication through email, online articles, websites and other electronic methods, to bias users' attitudes toward supporting a cause. The information shared is usually partially true. This information is bombarded using many electronic methods to create the chosen result in users' attitudes.

Computer Fraud This is a criminal activity where someone uses a computer to defraud an individual or organisation of money or goods. Computer fraud can be difficult to detect because the user committing the crime is very skilled, discreet and difficult to locate since they are accessing the computer through the Internet from another user's computer.

Electronic eavesdropping This is a method of using a computer system to record the keystrokes such as passwords and websites that a user accesses. These details are then transferred over the internet to the illegal user for fraudulent use.


This is where users' activity on the computer is monitored and observed secretly to detect illegal activity. That is, a user can be illegally monitored to see when they perform an illegal activity! Many times this is authorized by governments, huge corporations, or influential individuals. These surveillance programs are used widely and almost anything on the Internet could potentially be monitored for proof of illegal activity.

Identity Theft / Credit card fraud This is when a user pretends to be another user by assuming that person's identity, usually to access credit card information in order to use the funds on the credit card without permission.