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Computer abuse is

[the] intentional or reckless misuse, alteration, disruption, or destruction of information processing resources.[1]
[a]ny incident without color of right associated with computer technology in which a victim suffered or could have suffered loss and/or a perpetrator by intention made or could have made gain.[2]
[t]he misuse, alteration, disruption or destruction of data processing resources. The key aspect is that it is intentional and improper.[3]


"Computer abuse started with the emergence of computer technology in the late 1940s. As the number of people in the computer field began to increase, that facet of human nature that wants to harm society for personal gain took hold; the problem of abuse became especially acute as computer technology proliferated into sensitive areas in society, such as military systems. The abuse then spread to engineering, to science, and in parallel business and personal applications."[4]


  1. CNSSI 4009.
  2. Computer Crime: Criminal Justice Resource Manual, Glossary of Technical Terms, at xiv.
  3. Department of Defense, National Computer Security Center, Glossary of Computer Security Terms (NCSC-TG-004, Ver. 1) (Oct. 21, 1988).
  4. Computer Crime: Criminal Justice Resource Manual, at 5.