What is Cyber Crime?

We may define Cyber Crime as- “criminal activity involving the information technology infrastructure, including illegal access (unauthorized access), illegal interception (by technical means of non-public transmissions of computer data to, from or within a computer system), data interference (unauthorized damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration or suppression of computer data), systems interference (interfering with the functioning of a computer system by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data), misuse of devices, forgery (ID theft), and electronic fraud”.

Cyber crimes by using computers

Cyber crime is a term used broadly to describe criminal activity in which computers or computer networks are a tool, a target, or a place of criminal activity. These categories are not exclusive and many activities can be characterized as falling in one or more categories.

As the new millennium dawned, the computer has gained popularity in every aspect of our lives. This includes the use of computers by persons involved in the commission of crimes. Today, computers play a major role in almost every crime that is committed. According to DONN PARKER, “For the first time in human history, computers and automated processes make it possible to possess, not just commit, a crime. Today, criminals can pass a complete crime in software from one to another, each improving or adapting it to their needs.”

Though, the term cybercrime is widely used to describing criminal activity in which the computer or network is a necessary part of the crime, the term is also popularly used to include traditional crimes in which computers or networks are used to facilitate the illicit activity, or where a computer or network contains stored evidence of a traditional crime-

(1) Computer or network as a tool:-

Cyber crime in which the computer or network is a tool of the criminal activity include “spamming” and certain intellectual property and criminal copyright crimes (“IP piracy”), particularly those facilitated through peer-to-peer networks.

(2) Computer or network as a target:-

Cyber crime in which the computer or network is a target of criminal activity include unauthorized access (sometimes referred to as “computer trespass,” “hacking,” or “cracking”), malicious code (“malware”), and denial-of-service (“DoS” and “DDoS”) attacks. Attacks on critical infrastructure including telecommunication networks and industrial control systems (SCADA), may result in significant real-world damage, implicating cyber-terrorism and national security issues.

(3) Computer or network as a place:-

Cyber crime in which the computer or network is a place of criminal activity include theft of service, in particular, telecom fraud (e.g., “phreaking”) and certain financial frauds involving electronic transfers (e.g., “salami slicing”). An emerging area is “virtual crime,” particularly in online gaming or immersive social network sites where virtual goods are subject to attack or theft.

  • A few examples of traditional crimes facilitated through the use of computers or networks include Nigerian 419 or other gullibility frauds (e.g., “phishing”), identity theft, child pornography, online gambling, securities fraud, etc.
  • Cyber stalking is an example of a traditional crime-harassment or stalking-that has taken a new form when facilitated through computer networks. Moreover, computers or networks have been used to lure victims of assault, robbery or muggings.
  • Sometimes, information crimes including trade secret theft and economic espionage are considered cybercrimes when computers or networks are involved.
  • Cybercrime in the context of national security may involve hacktivism (online activity intended to influence policy), traditional espionage, or information warfare and related activities.


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