Computer crimes or cybercrime is a crime involving a computer and a network. To be more specific, cybercrimes are acts violating both individuals and groups of individuals with ill intent and motive to damage their statuses by inflicting physical and mental injury, which could also lead to losses, whether directly or indirectly. This damage is done with the use of modern telecommunication networks including but not limited to the Internet and cellular phones. Examples of which include hacking, copyright infringement, child pornography, and child grooming.
Cybercrimes can be classified into fraud and financial crimes, cyber terrorism, cyberextortion, cyberwarfare, computer as a target, and computer as a tool. These classifications will be discussed in details below:
- Fraud and financial crimes. Computer fraud is committed by deceit and misrepresenting facts which either makes a person act or not act on a particular thing consequently causing losses. Other ways of performing of computer fraud include carding, bank fraud, extortion, identity theft, as well as theft of classified information. Several losses have already been incurred from various internet scams like social engineering and phishing, which target customers and companies.
- Cyber terrorism. Cyber terrorism is the crime of intimidating or coercing a government or company in order to execute a cyberterrorist’s societal or political goals by sending out a computer-based attack against networks, computers, or the data they contain. A major increase in Internet issues and server scans have been noticed since early 2001 which are the results of organized work by cyber-terrorists, intelligence groups and services from another countries, or other groups looking for security holes in crucial systems.
- Cyberextortion. Cyberextortion is the crime of subjecting or threatening a website, computer system, or e-mail server with numerous denials of service or similar acts done by hackers. These hackers ask for ransoms from their victims to stop the attacks and offer protection in return. Extortion is usually practiced by various organized crime groups. Getting of money or material property is not necessary to use the offense. It is sufficient that the offender or offenders make the threat of violence requiring payment of money or property. Additionally, extortion also means the infliction of pain and suffering or making somebody endure something unpleasant. It does not refer only to the extortion of money or property through force. Common victims of cyberextortion are corporate websites and networks.
- Cyberwarfare. Cyberwarfare is the actions by one state to infiltrate another state’s technological network for the purposes of damaging or disrupting operations. It can also be perpetrated by out-of-state actors such as terrorist groups, political extremist groups, companies, hacktivists, ideological extremist groups, and transnational criminal organizations. This computer crime is essentially a formal version of penetration testing, in which a government organization has established it as a warfighting capability.
- Targeted Computers. This type of computer crime requires the technological know-how of the perpetrators, who are usually a selected group of criminals.
This crime is commonly executed with the use of computer viruses, denial-of-service attacks, and malware.
- Computers Used as Tools. The computer is considered a tool when a person is the primary target of a cybercrime. It involves generally less technical skills and exploits human weaknesses. As the damage it causes is largely psychological, legal action against the perpetrators may prove difficult. This crime is typically executed by means of fraud, identity theft, information warfare, phishing scams, and spam.