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Cybercrime (or "computer crime") consists of specific crimes dealing with computers and networks (such as hacking) and the facilitation of traditional crime through the use of computers and technology infrastructure. (Source:

Although the terms computer crime and cybercrime are more properly restricted to describing criminal activity in which the computer or network is a necessary part of the crime, these terms are also sometimes used to include traditional crimes, such as fraud, theft, blackmail, forgery, and embezzlement, in which computers or networks are used.

Types of Cybercrime

Computer crime encompass a broad range of potentially illegal activities. Generally, however, it may be divided into one of two types of categories: (1) crimes that target computer networks or devices directly; (2) crimes facilitated by computer networks or devices, the primary target of which is independent of the computer network or device.

Examples of crimes that primarily target computer networks or devices include:

  • Malware and malicious code
  • Denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks
  • Computer viruses or malware

Examples of crimes that merely use computer networks or devices include:

  • Cyber stalking
  • Fraud and identity theft
  • Phishing scams
  • Information warfare

Common Examples of Cybercrime

A common example is when a person starts to steal information from sites, or cause damage to, a computer or computer network. This can be entirely virtual in that the information only exists in digital form, and the damage, while real, has no physical consequence other than the machine ceases to function.

In some legal systems, intangible property cannot be stolen and the damage must be visible, e.g. as resulting from a blow from a hammer. Where human-centric terminology is used for crimes relying on natural language skills and innate gullibility, definitions have to be modified to ensure that fraudulent behavior remains criminal no matter how it is committed.

A computer can be a source of evidence. Even though the computer is not directly used for criminal purposes, it is an excellent device for record keeping, particularly given the power to encrypt the data. If this evidence can be obtained and decrypted, it can be of great value to criminal investigators.

High Profile Cybercrime

As the use of computers has grown, computer crime has become more important.

Computer crime issues have become high-profile, particularly those surrounding hacking, copyright infringement through warez, child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is lost or intercepted, lawfully or otherwise.

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