Essay On Misuses Of Computer

World Bank Economist Felipe Barrera-Osorio, working with Leigh Linden of Columbia University, has just published a very useful and rigorous study on the impact of ICT use in Colombia.

The Use and Misuse of Computers in Education: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Colombia (PDF) looked at  97 schools and 5,201 children over two years of participation in the Computers for Schools program.

While some readers may immediately latch onto the finding that the program "had little effect on students’ test scores", I found the potential explanation for this lack of positive impact to be even more valuable:

"The main reason for these results seems to be the failure to incorporate the computers into the educational process. Although the program increased the number of computers in the treatment schools and provided training to the teachers on how to use the computers in their classrooms, surveys of both teachers and students suggest that teachers did not incorporate the computers into their curriculum."

This points to a fundamental paradox in many, if not most, large scale roll-outs of computers in schools in developing countries: one of the primary rationales for their purchase and deployment is to bring about improvements in student test scores in core subjects, yet in practice they are typically used for basic 'computer instruction'.

This is the first in what is hoped to be a series of rigorous analytical studies sponsored by the World Bank examining the impact of ICT use in education in various ways.

Note: Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Computer Misuse is to hack someone`s computer to steal information, unauthorised access to computer system and damaging software (malware), such as viruses. There are different types of computer misuse and they are:

Hacking
Hacking is where an unauthorised person uses a network, Internet or modem Connection to gain access past security passwords or other security to see data stored on another computer. Hackers sometimes use software hacking tools and often target, for example, particular sites on the Internet. Data misuse and unauthorised transfer or copying

Copying and illegal transfer of data is very quick and easy using online computers and large storage devices such as hard disks, memory sticks and DVDs. Personal data, company research and written work, such as novels and textbooks, cannot be copied without the copyright holder’s permission. Copying and distributing copyrighted software, music and film This includes copying music and movies with computer equipment and distributing it on the Internet without the copyright holder’s permission. This is a widespread misuse of both computers and the Internet that breaks copyright regulations. Email and chat room abuses

Internet services such as chat rooms and email have been the subject of many well-publicised cases of impersonation and deception where people who are online pretend to have a different identity. Chat rooms have been used to spread rumours about well known personalities. A growing area of abuse of the Internet is email spam, where millions of emails are sent to advertise both legal and illegal products and services. Pornography

A lot of indecent material and pornography is available through the Internet and can be stored in electronic form. There have been several cases of material, which is classified as illegal, or which shows illegal acts, being found stored on computers followed by prosecutions for possession of the material. Identity and financial abuses

This topic includes misuse of stolen or fictional credit card numbers to obtain goods or services on the Internet, and use of computers in financial frauds. These can range from complex well thought out deceptions to simple uses such as printing counterfeit money with colour printers. Viruses

Viruses are relatively simple programs written by people and designed to cause nuisance or damage to computers or their files.

Why did people start to computer misuse?
People started to computer misuse because to gain access past security passwords or other security to see data stored on another computer and to cause nuisance or damage their computer or their files.

How to prevent computer misuse?
The Computer Misuse Act (1990)
This was passed by Parliament and made three new offences:
1. Accessing computer material without permission, e.g. looking at someone else’s files. 2. Accessing computer material without permission with intent to commit further criminal offences, e.g. hacking into the bank’s computer and wanting to increase the amount in your account. 3. Altering computer data without permission, e.g. writing a virus to destroy someone else’s data, or actually changing the money in an account. The Data Protection Act

This was introduced to regulate personal data. This helps to provide protection against the abuse of personal information. Copyright law
This provides protection to the owners of the copyright and covers the copying of written, musical, or film works using computers. FAST is the industry body which is against software theft. There have been cases where laws such as Copyright have been used to crack down on file sharing websites or individuals who store and illegally distribute copyrighted material, eg music. There is a massive problem with many people around the world obtaining copyrighted material illegally. Close down chat rooms

Some chat rooms have been closed down due to abuses, especially where children are vulnerable. Some have moderators who help to prevent abuses. Advice about sensible use is important; especially to never give personal contact details or arrange meetings without extreme caution. Reduce email spamming

This may be reduced by:
never replying to anonymous emails
setting filters on email accounts
reporting spammers to ISPs, who are beginning to get together to blacklist email abusers governments passing laws to punish persistent spammers with heavy fines Regular backups and security
Just making something illegal or setting up regulations does not stop it happening. Responsible computer users need to take reasonable steps to keep their data safe. This includes regular backups and sufficient security with passwords.

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