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Cybercrime Definition

What is Cybercrime?

As the name says, "cyber" means computer and "crime" means something unfair and illegal, which collectively means a crime executed using computer technologies. It could be that the computer may be involved in the crime or a target of a big one. This could harm someone's privacy and finances.

Cybercrime Definition

It comprises a wide range of crimes such as cyber fraud, financial scams, cybersex trafficking, ad scams, etc. Many privacy concerns refer to cyber crime when the privacy is intercepted and disclosed. The World Economic Forum 2020 Global Risk Report confirmed that organized cybercrime bodies are joining forces to execute criminal activities online. This also affects global GDP and the world economy as financial scams related activities are more notable and popular in the cyber world.

Cybercrime Types

1. Cyber Fraud

This refers to an act of stealing E-data or gaining unlawful use of another computer system. This usually involves accessing a computer without permission or authorization.

The forms of computer fraud involve

  • Hacking of a computer
  • Sending malicious codes such as viruses
  • Installing malware, suspicious software or spyware to steal data
  • Phishing to perform scams on finance or banking details
  • Identity Theft
  • Sending hoax (seems to be good but, in reality, aren't) emails
  • Data Mining

This could usually cause monetary or identity harm.

2. Cyberterrorism

The act of terrorism is executed using computer technologies such as cyberspace or other computer resources. Acts of large-scale disruption mainly of computer networks connected to the internet using computer viruses and malware software. Government and IT specialists have recorded much increase in cyber terrorism since the early 2000s.

This could include-

  • Phishing
  • Hardware methods
  • Programming scripts
  • Threats such as
    • Rape threats
    • Death threats
    • Harm to Mental health threats
  • Malicious software

3. Ad Fraud

Ad fraud particularly refers to a scam that uses ads as sense or a tool for baiting people for amazing opportunities. These got popularity in the cyber world as they are less likely to be prosecuted and are the most earnable.

These are mainly classified into three categories:-

  • Identity fraud is when the criminal changes his identity which seems to be a known organization, and inflates the audience. This category includes traffic from bots. Cookie stuffing, falsifying etc., are some examples.
  • Attribution fraud-in this, the criminal tries to look like the real users by copying their clicks, conversations, etc.). This includes- hijacked devices, use of infected users (through malware) etc.
  • Ad fraud services are related to all hosting services and online infrastructure. These services can include creating spam websites, link-building services, hosting services, fraud campaigns etc.

4. Cybersex Trafficking

Victims are threatened, tortured and transferred to "cybersex traffickers' dens". This refers to the transportation of victims and then the live streaming of coerced sexual acts or rape on the webcam. The criminal use social media networks, videoconferences, dating pages, online chat rooms, and the dark web to show up the victims being deceived. They use online payment services to conceal their identities.

An estimated almost 6.3 million people are the victims of cybersex trafficking. These numbers also include children too. An example is the 2018-20 Nth room case in South Korea.

5. Computer as a Target

As told before, in cybercrimes, computers can be used both as a target or as a tool to breach the user's data. A computer can be targeted when the criminal has the technical knowledge and knows how to hack the user's system and steal the data. People are not much prepared to combat these crimes as these are new in existence. These crimes are mostly done by criminals who are alone, not with an organization.

These include-

  • Computer Viruses
  • Malware
  • Denial Services Attack

6. Computer as a Tool

When criminals use their systems to attack the user's target, it is referred to as "a tool". These crimes generally do not need technical expertise from the criminal's side. These crimes generally exploit the victim's or user's psychological health by traumatizing, making threats, scamming, and blackmailing them. These include-

  • Fraud and id theft
  • Information warfare
  • Phishing scams
  • Spam
  • Harassment and threats
  • Unsolicited sending of bulk emails
  • Creating fake links to net banking

7. Drug Trafficking

Dark web or darknet markets are used to buy and sell drugs online. Some criminals use encrypted messaging software to communicate with drug mules. The dark web site "silk road" was the first major online marketplace of drugs. It was permanently shut down by the FBI in 2014. These markets got a major rise in recent years. There are many ways in which darknet markets can financially drain individuals-

  • Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
  • Tails
  • Tor browser

To hide their online presence.

How to Prevent Being the Victims of These Crimes?

  • Use strong passwords
  • Keep your software updated
  • Manage your social media settings
  • Be aware of scams and online fraud
  • The right use of a VPN
  • Be updated on major security suits
  • Know what to do when you become a victim

Some Notable Cases

  • One of the most high-profile banking computer crimes happened in 1970. The top teller at New York's Union Dime Savings Bank's Park Avenue branch stole over $1.5 million from hundreds of accounts.
  • A hacker organization known as MOD (Masters of Deception) is accused of stealing passwords and technical data from Pacific Bell, Nynex, and other telephone providers, as well as six major credit bureaus and two major colleges. Damage was substantial; one firm, Southwestern Telephone, alone incurred losses of $370,000.
  • In 2006, the Russian Business Network (RBN) was registered as an online site. Most of its operations were initially legal, but, it appears that the creators quickly realized that it was more profitable to host illegal activity and began leasing their services to criminals. The RBN has been dubbed "the worst of the bad" by VeriSign. It provides site hosting and internet access to a wide range of illicit and unpleasant operations, with individual activities generating up to $150 million in a single year. It specialized in and sometimes monopolized, reselling personal identity theft.
  • In January 2012, suffered a security breach that exposed up to 24 million customers' credit card details, personal information, and billing and delivery addresses.
  • Unlawful access to camera sensors, microphone sensors, phonebook contacts, all internet-enabled apps, and metadata on mobile phones running Android and iOS appears to have been allowed by Israeli spyware, which was determined to be in use in at least 46 countries across the world. Journalists, aristocrats, and government officials were among those attacked. Previous reports of Israeli weapons companies meddling with international networks and smartphones have been eclipsed by the 2018 incident. On March 2, 2010, Spanish authorities detained three individuals suspected of infecting over 13 million computers worldwide. According to investigators, the "botnet" of infected computers comprised PCs within more than half of the Fortune 1000 businesses and more than 40 major banks.


Criminals are increasingly attempting to steal sensitive information such as banking or credit card information as technology progresses, and more people rely on the internet to keep it. Cybercrime is becoming a greater menace to individuals all around the world. Increasing awareness about how information is being safeguarded and the strategies thieves use to acquire that information continues to increase in importance. In 2014, there were 269,422 complaints lodged with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Centre. The overall loss from all claims was stated to be $800,492,073.

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