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What is Computer Crime?

Computer crime is an act that describes a large category of offenses, which is also known as hi-tech crime, e-crime, cybercrime, or electronic crime. It is performed by a computer user who has great knowledge about hacking. The hacker tries to gain unauthorized access to any particular account, personal information or steals a company’s or individual’s private information. In some cases, hackers can corrupt the computer or data files that can be very harmful to you.

What is Computer Crime

On the basis of the person, situation, and individual frame of reference, the term computer crime has different meanings. For example, there are different communities like network administrators, private security, law enforcement, or prosecutors, but the investigation of computer crime does not need these communities. However, conventional or physical borders do not restrict computer crime as it is by its very nature.

The first definitional categories for computer crime are presented by Donn Parke, who is generally cited as the author. A higher-level definition to the term computer abuse was described by him, computer crime can be any event involving an planned act where a unauthorize person or offender wants to gain related to computers, but a victim suffered or could have suffered a loss.

Expanding on Parker’s definitions Robert Taylor and company describe four major categories of computer crime:

  1. The computer as a target: Computers can be the target of an illegal activity, which means the attacker has to main objective to deny the owners or legal users of the system to their data or computer. Unleashing a virus through email is one of the most common crimes at the time of targeting computers. An example of this category (computer as a target) is a Denial-of-Service attack or a virus. A virus is referred to destroy your system’s data or even a computer system, which is a computer program
  2. The computer as an instrument of the crime: In this category, a computer is used to accomplish complex financial schemes to defraud or use to gain some information or data, which data is further used for any illegal activity. For case, a computer system can be used by a hacker to steal personal information, which can be used for the criminal objective.
  3. The computer as incidental to a crime: The computer may be incidental to a crime that means it can only facilitate the crime but may not the primary instrument of it. For example, the trading of child pornography and money laundering.
  4. Crimes associated with the prevalence of computers: This category comprises of the actions such as software piracy, intellectual property theft, and other crimes against the computer industry.

Examples of computer crimes

In modern times, there are various kinds of computer crime available, which are discussed below:

  • Child pornography: Child pornography is an example of computer crimes, which is a form of child sexual exploitation.
  • Cracking: Another example of computer crime is cracking, in which the cracker decodes or breaks the codes that are designed to protect data. A cracker is an individual who uses a script or program to decipher codes or breakdown security systems for illegal activities. The program or script, which is used to break the security, is known as crack.
  • Copyright violation: If anyone steals another person’s copyrighted data, it is also a type of computer crime.
  • Cyber terrorism: In this category, the attacks come, like blackmailing, hacking, threats towards a person or business to gain unauthorized access to perform illegal activities.
  • Cybersquatting: Cybersquatting is a term, which is also referred to as domain squatting and typo squatting that is used to set up a domain of another person or company and hold it for resale at a premium price.
  • Cyberbully or Cyberstalking: Cyberstalking is a kind of attack in which anyone harasses or stalks other persons online by posting inappropriate or unwanted things about them.
  • Creating Malware: Malware is malicious software that is installed on your computer without your consent as it uses deceptive and unethical tactics. It is designed to watch browsing habits, delete software, or even open someone’s computer to attack. For case, sometimes you mistakenly run software on your computer when you are visiting a website and get an unrequested download.
  • Denial of Service attack: A DoS attack, which stands for denial of service attack, is a kind of computer crime in which an attacker sends an abnormally high number of requests to the victim that is led to the network slow down or fail. These requests cannot be served as normal requests.
  • Doxing: It is another type of attack when someone shares another person’s personal information with anyone without their consent. The personal information may be in the form of someone’s full name, address, history, password, and other identifying information.
  • Espionage: Espionage is the act of spying on a person or business to obtain secret or confidential information. A person who performs these kinds of activities is known as a spy or espionage agent. Espionage agents can work in company or independent operations to uncover agencies or other secret information.
  • Fraud: Fraud is the use of computers, internet services, or devices to manipulating data or defraud people or organizations; for example, to participate in credit card fraud or to transfer money to an account, changing banking records. Examples of illegal computer activities include: social engineering, DDoS, viruses, and phishing attacks are used to gain unauthorized access to another fund.
  • Harvesting: A harvester is a software, also known as a web harvester, that is designed to gather account or account-related information of others, or it is also used to parse large amounts of data. For instance, large numbers of web pages may be processed by a web harvester to take out names, phone numbers, email addresses, account names from the website.
  • Human trafficking: It is one of the serious crimes, which is an act of participating in buying or selling other humans. Basically, it graves a violation of human rights. There are thousands of men, women, and children who become a victim of traffickers. Approximately all countries in the world become a victim of attackers.
  • Identity theft: Identity theft is an act to be a person you are not that one. In this category, attackers try to gain information illegally about someone else. Attackers or thieves can try to information such as phone number, credit card numbers, full name, maiden name, social security number, passwords, etc.
  • Illegal sales: It is an act of purchasing or selling illicit goods online, such as psychotropic substances, drugs, guns, and more.
  • Intellectual property theft: It is a category of property where a human creates something by using their own mind. In this case, if anyone steals practical or conceptual information that is created by other persons or organizations, it comes under intellectual property theft, which is known as a crime. Trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, and patents are well-known types of intellectual property.
  • Phishing or vishing: It is a term that is used to deceive individuals or groups to obtain secret information about that person. For that, they create web pages designed to gather personal information like a credit card, online bank, password, or other private information. They also do so with the help of sending emails.
  • Salami slicing: Generally, it can be defined as stealing small amounts of money from each transaction that builds into a large sum of illegally gained money.
  • Scam: A scam is a term that is used to trick people into believing something, which is not actually true. For example, people start a fraud scheme or business through which they gain money from an unsuspecting person. Online scams have increased because the world is more connected to the network. And, it depends on you to keep careful yourself from these kinds of online scams
  • Slander: A slander is an act of posting libel against another organization or person.
  • Software piracy: Generally, it describes illegally copying, distributing, or using software without ownership or legal rights. Today, most of the software may have installed on one computer to use as it is purchased as a single-user license. If you share that software with anyone or copy it on multiple computer devices without purchasing multiple licenses, it is illegal and comes under software piracy.
  • Spamming: Spam is an e-mail distributed process that is used to promote a specific product or a scam to obtain other people’s money by sending unsolicited e-mail to thousands and sometimes millions of people without their consent. It describes junk e-mail on the Internet that is also known as UCE (unsolicited commercial e-mail), mass e-mail marketing, and bulk e-mail.
  • Spoofing: Generally, the term spoof describes hacking or deception that means to deceive a system by imitating another person, computer, hardware device. You do that bypassing security measures. IP spoofing is one of the well-known spoofing’s.
  • Typosquatting: Cybersquatting is a term used to describe a domain that is a misspelling of another domain. Generally, it is also known as domain squatting and typo squatting that means a company or individual knowingly buys a domain and holds it resale at a premium price.
  • Unauthorized access: When someone tries to access a system, server, program, and service by using an illegal method or someone else’s account information. Basically, unauthorized access means accessing a system on which you have no permission to access. For the case, you have a Gmail account, and someone kept guessing a password or username for your account and accessed this account, which is considered unauthorized access.
  • Wiretapping: Wiretapping is the surreptitious electronic monitoring device that is used to connect a device to a phone line to listen to conversations.

Protect Yourself against Computer Crimes

Due to a computer or cybercrime, losing account information, computer, or other personal information can be very harmful; because this information can be used by an unauthorized person for any illegal activity. Especially, there are more chances to become victims of these crimes when you are relay more and more on these networks to conduct business. However, there are different ways that can help you out to protect you from these crimes.

The online use of computers is very much involved in fraud or computer crimes. You must be careful at the time of sharing your important personal information over the internet. This information can be in terms of your social security numbers, account id, password, credit card number, etc.

Also, use a difficult password to take basic precautions for keeping your data private and change the password frequently that would be made hacking difficult. Make sure you are not doing financial transactions over unprotected networks or on public computers. A good anti-virus program also helps to prevent these crimes; so, you should install anti-virus on your system and update it regularly. Furthermore, there are various websites that can have viruses, spyware, or other malware; therefore, be careful when you are downloading software from these kinds of websites.

There are some important key points that can help you protect against computer crimes:

  • Use strong passwords: Always use a strong, unique password and change your password frequently. Also, the repeated password is not beneficial; so, do not keep the same passwords on different sites. And you should always try to password with the combination of at least 10 -14 letters that have symbols, special characters, and numbers, which means create a complex password. A complex password cannot be hacked easily like “123456” or “another simple password.”
  • Keep your software updated: Especially, it is most important with your internet security software; because attackers always try to gain access to your system by using flaws or known exploits. Therefore, you should keep your software up to date, which helps to patch those exploits and flaws, which led to a decrease in the chances of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
  • Be careful about using public Wi-Fi: It is very easy for hackers to connect with public Wi-Fi. That means they can see your history what you’re doing on the internet, such as watching a movie, including they can see your account information, password, or other personal sensitive information you are logging on the device. To protect yourself against crime, do not enter your secret information while using public Wi-Fi, and when you are on public Wi-Fi, use apps that need a password to access.
  • Manage your social media settings: Make sure your private and personal information is locked. As you mostly share your pictures or other data on social media sites publicly, which can be hacked by social engineering cybercriminals. So, it would be better for you to less share your personal information on social media.

Some other points keep in your mind

  • Be aware because identity theft can happen anywhere
  • Keep an eye on the children
  • Take measures to help protect yourself against identity theft
  • Strengthen your home network
  • Use a full-service internet security suite
  • You should go offline when you do not need an internet connection
  • Consider sharing less online
  • Block spyware attacks

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