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According to the ACFE, the CFE program denotes proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection, deterrence and investigation.

 

 

 

 

Mastering Computer & Internet Fraud Guide for CFE Exam Candidate.


The CFE exam is a computer based 500-question (MC and T/F) mega module which covers:

  • Criminology & Ethics

  • Financial Transactions

  • Fraud Investigation

  • Legal Elements of Fraud
     

Many CFE candidates are experienced accounting professional who have been in the field of accounting and finance for years, that they know most of the practical financial how-tos, and all they need is to learn the principles, concepts and science that are behind the latest fraud schemes and prevention/detection techniques, such as those associated with the use of computer and internet. In fact, the unit on Financial Transactions has a section dedicated to frauds taking place in the world equipped with computers and internet.

Overall, coverage of the exam is extensive - so extensive that I wouldn't recommend taking the test until you are fully drilled on all the covered topics. You know what, I personally think the official Fraud Examiner Manual is excellent - it covers a
majority of the essential topics that you need to know to tackle most fraud related topics, except for Computer & Internet Fraud, which we honestly think should deserve more coverage (for doing really well in the exam). That is why we came up with this special study guide - the Mastering Computer & Internet Fraud Guide for CFE Exam Candidates.

Computers and the internet serve as the essential tools for committing many kinds of fraud and scam in the modern days. A CFE does not have to be a techie. He/she does need to know how technologies can facilitate fraudulent activities, and how these activities can be detected and examined. 

Quite many CFE candidates have mistakenly believed that the CFE exam is going to give questions that are word for word copies of the official manual. This is quite untrue. A large part of the exam makes use of contents provided in the official manual for determining what is a correct answer and what is not. The exam does not copy and paste text from there for forming exam questions. Also, not all exam contents are from the official manual. There are other sources of information that were used for creating the exam.

For the CFE exam, our advice is that you shouldn't be afraid to pick the simple or obvious answer.  

Each of the four CFE exam sections has 125 questions and you will be given approximately 75 seconds to answer each question. What is difficult is that you have to score at least 75% correct on each and every part. In other words, EVERYTHING covered by the Fraud Examiner Manual plus something extra from some outside references would be tested.

You may think of our guide as the unofficial supplement to the official Fraud Examiner Manual, or you may view it as a standalone guide with a focus on combating Computer & internet Fraud from a professional perspective.

Computer & Internet Fraud is an emerging topic to many CFE candidates. As described in the official manual, unlike traditional fraud, computer fraud can be uneasy for the fraud examiner to tackle as they mostly lack a traditional paper audit trail, that the fraudster usually have thorough understanding of the technology for committing the crime against the victim computer. To fight this kind of fraud, being simply computer literate is usually not enough. Exam-wise, techniques for failing you - fluff, outdated technologies, pertinent details buried in the irrelevant ...etc can lead you to the wrong answers UNLESS you are thoroughly and comprehensively drilled on the relevant information.

For those who are not experienced in information technology, the topic of computer & internet fraud could have the potential to fail an exam part entirely (remember, you need to score at least 75% correct on each and every part). Therefore we created this special guide with an attempt to help people out - to help them do well on the CFE exam. In fact, our guide is the only product on the market that fills the gap between traditional anti-fraud knowledge and the various emerging issues on computer & internet.

If you are new to fraud examination, you need to plan your study into a 2-stage process. At the first stage you review the official manual. Give yourself one to two months to go through the text chapter by chapter. Then, at the second stage you use our study guide to drill on the key computer fraud related topics for the best possible knowledge coverage  prior to taking the exam.

 

Table of Contents  (Contents updated on 29 Oct, 2008)

Approx page count: approx. 220

END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT
ABOUT THIS BOOK

COMPUTER FRAUD, CRIME AND HACKING

SECURITY THEORIES
THE COMPUTER SYSTEM ITSELF AS LARGELY AN UNTRUSTED SYSTEM
DEFENSE IN DEPTH
VULNERABILITIES
SECURING SYSTEM AND DATA
SECURITY MEASURES

STANDARDS, GUIDELINES AND LAWS

TCP/IP SPECIFIC SECURITY RISKS

PROTECTION OF INFORMATION ASSETS INFORMATION ASSETS DEFINED
DATA CLASSIFICATIONS AND LAYER OF RESPONSIBILITIES
SECURITY POLICY
EFFECTIVE SECURITY PRACTICES
SECURITY AWARENESS TRAINING
CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLATIONS
SECURITY MODELS AND MODES OF OPERATIONS
EVALUATION & CLASSIFICATION
DEVISING YOUR OWN CLASSIFICATION SCHEME

IS CONTROLS
CONTROL MODELS

 

ACLS VERSUS CAPABILITIES
IMPLEMENTING CONTROL
THE AAA CONCEPT
PRACTICAL CONTROL MEASURES
ESTABLISHING ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH EVENT LOGGING
CHANGE CONTROL
INTERNAL PREVENTIVE CONTROLS VERSUS COMPENSATING CONTROLS
DATABASE SECURITY

COMPUTER FORENSICS
THE PRIMARY GOAL
EVIDENCE COLLECTION AND SUBMISSION
DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER
TYPES OF EVIDENCE AND THE TOOL(S) TO USE

IT STRATEGIC PLANNING, AUDITING AND GOVERNANCE
IT STRATEGIC PLANNING
IS GOVERNANCE
IS AUDITING
INFORMATION RETENTION & DISPOSAL PROCEDURES

OVERVIEW OF BASIC COMPUTER TECHNOLOGIES

EXAMPLES OF COMMON INTERNET FRAUD SCHEMES

88 Review Questions

View the TOC (in Flash format) here.

If any of the TOC files (in Flash format) fails to load directly into your browser, please right click on the link, then choose SAVE AS, and save the .swf file to your "My Documents" folder. You may then open it locally without any problem.

 

 

SAMPLE TEXT on Computer Fraud, Crime and Hacking


Computer fraud can be described as any defalcation or embezzlement achieved through tampering with computer items such as programs, data files, equipment, media ..etc which would result in losses. Access to the computer takes place with the intent to run a fraudulent scheme. Proof of access with fraudulent intent rather than taking things (money, information…etc) away is the emphasis here. In other words, this is sort of a legal principle primarily against access with malicious intent.
 

Computer crime could be different. Those who have authorized access would not come under the law against access. Manipulation or corruption of program or data could be independent of fraudulent schemes and might not be classified as vandalism since the property involved is NOT physically tangible. It may be more accurate to think of computer fraud as Computer-Assisted Crime as it involves the use of computers for evil purposes.

NOTE: In a computer crime, computer can be a means or a target object. In a computer assisted crime, however, computer is primarily a means.


Rusch describes Internet fraud ass a form of white-collar crime whose growth may be as rapid and diverse as the growth of the Internet. According to him, the term "Internet fraud" may be broadly defined as any fraud committed through or with the aid of Internet-related communications. He believes that the growth of Internet fraud is outpacing peoples' understanding of the problem .
 

According to Legal-Definitions.com, fraud is defined “as a deception deliberately practiced to secure unfair or unlawful gain” , which could be a serious crime in some states (for example, fraud in Arizona is classified as class 2 felony and is defined by statute as “any person who, pursuant to a scheme or artifice to defraud, knowingly obtains any benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises or material omissions”). The words “deliberately” or “knowingly” spelled out the importance of the intention involved regardless of exactly what have been done to implement the fraud.

NOTE: The US DOJ defines "Internet fraud" as any type of fraud scheme that uses one or more components of the Internet to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims, to conduct fraudulent transactions, or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to other connected with the scheme.


Another word which is often used interchangeably with fraud by the online communities is “scam”, which means a dishonest scheme for making money . Strictly speaking, “scam” and “fraud” do not share exactly the same definition. However, from a victim’s point of view, between the two the difference is not significant, as long as the one who makes money out of it has been dishonest intentionally.

NOTE: According to Rusch, Internet fraud schemes typically employ psychological influence techniques in the forms of E-mail and Web site scams, Online auctions, Securities and other investment schemes. The NACHA Internet Council has a publication titled "Internet Payments Fraud" white paper, which identifies and catalogs the various types of Internet-related fraud, such as transaction-level fraud, merchant-level fraud, and identity theft fraud.


Hacking is the act of penetrating into computer systems without proper authorization – a form of computer intrusion. There are two types of hacking. Unethical hacking is seen as evil – it is attempted to either steal information or cause troubles on the part of the victims. Ethical hacking, on the other hand, is basically penetration testing.

NOTE: You may think of a penetration test as a method of evaluating the security of a computer system or network through simulating an attack by a malicious hacker (source of threat). An ethical hacker (aka whitehat hacker) does not perform questionable activities. A grayhat hacker sometimes does. A cracker ALWAYS does.


From a fraud examination perspective, try to think of hacking as a technical means to commit computer fraud. We will go through the possible technical options, and from there you can tell what is most likely to produce fraud and what is not, basing on the unique fraud scenarios you are facing.
 

 

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