BEGINNING IN THE 1980s, as new technology made what former Vice President Al Gore called the Information Superhighway possible, the world has become smaller and more vulnerable. Any computer that is connected to the internet or to a network opens a line of communication that can be accessed by computer hackers around the world. Computer hackers have been responsible for threats to national security, credit-card and identity theft, software piracy, financial fraud, trade-secrets theft, information theft, denial of service attacks, wanton destruction of data, software, and hardware, and various other malicious behaviors.

It is difficult to estimate the full extent of the damage caused by computer hackers because of under-reporting. Estimates of annual costs have ranged from $555 million and $13 billion. When government agencies or ...

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