Computer as a target
These crimes are committed by a selected group of criminals. Unlike crimes using the computer as a tool, these crimes require the technical knowledge of the perpetrators. As such, as technology evolves, so too does the nature of the crime. These crimes are relatively new, having been in existence for only as long as computers have—which explains how unprepared society and the world, in general, is towards combating these crimes. There are numerous crimes of this nature committed daily on the internet. It is seldom committed by loners, instead it involves large syndicate groups.
Crimes that primarily target computer networks include:
- Computer viruses
- Denial-of-service attacks
- Malware (malicious code)
- Computer as a tool
When the individual is the main target of cybercrime, the computer can be considered as the tool rather than the target. These crimes generally involve less technical expertise. Human weaknesses are generally exploited. The damage dealt is largely psychological and intangible, making legal action against the variants more difficult. These are the crimes which have existed for centuries in the offline world. Scams, theft, and the likes have existed even before the development in high-tech equipment. The same criminal has simply been given a tool which increases their potential pool of victims and makes them all the harder to trace and apprehend.
Crimes that use computer networks or devices to advance other ends include:
- Fraud and identity theft (although this increasingly uses malware, hacking or phishing, making it an example of both « computer as target » and « computer as tool » crime)
- Information warfare
- Phishing scams
- Propagation of illegal obscene or offensive content, including harassment and threats
The unsolicited sending of bulk email for commercial purposes (spam) is unlawful in some jurisdictions.
Phishing is mostly propagated via email. Phishing emails may contain links to other websites that are affected by malware. Or, they may contain links to fake online banking or other websites used to steal private account information.
Obscene or offensive content
The content of websites and other electronic communications may be distasteful, obscene or offensive for a variety of reasons. In some instances, these communications may be illegal.
The extent to which these communications are unlawful varies greatly between countries, and even within nations. It is a sensitive area in which the courts can become involved in arbitrating between groups with strong beliefs.
One area of Internet pornography that has been the target of the strongest efforts at curtailment is child pornography, which is illegal in most jurisdictions in the world. Debarati Halder and K. Jaishankar further define cybercrime from the perspective of gender and defined ‘cybercrime against women’ as « Crimes targeted against women with a motive to intentionally harm the victim psychologically and physically, using modern telecommunication networks such as internet and mobile phones ».
Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybercrime.