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15 Categories that constitute Cybercrime

Posted by: Lucius Lobo On January 31, 2012 12:25 PM facebook linked in twitter

It is acknowledged that there is no comprehensive definition for Cybercrime. Definitions vary, as cybercrime is a new and rapidly evolving theme. Cybercrimes are crimes that:

•  are targeted against a computer system such as the theft of data or service interruption (or)
•  crimes perpetuated through the use of a computer such as asset misappropriation and cyber harassment (or)
•  where the computer is used as an accessory such as a file sharing site

To me, cybercrime has many dimensions from economical, social, ideological, military to political. Crimes may or may not have an economic impact and may be targeted against an individual, property or government. Cybercrime can be categorized under the following 15 categories:

Piracy and Copyright Infringement
Piracy in online goods such as music, films, e-books, games and software is a 200m$ business. Piracy occurs when individuals share these products using file sharing sites. Sites which host pirated goods may also be liable.

Pornography, Pedophilia and prohibited sexual content
Pornographic content may be legal or illegal depending on country, but the act of child pornography or pornography that depicts violence in illegal everywhere. Some laws prevent creation, viewing and storage of content (i.e. the creator and user are both equally liable) or a subset.

Corporate Espionage
Corporate espionage is the act of insiders or external hackers infiltrating an organization to steal IPR or confidential business data.

Cyber Warfare
Cyber warfare involves the act of creating cyber weapons for offense and defense by military organizations. Cyber weapons may be designed to cripple the Internet or selectively cause destruction to parts of the critical national infrastructure like power, water, and nuclear plants. When some of these weapons are used without a declaration of war, this act in my opinion constitutes cybercrime. As part of cyber warfare, there is a component of military espionage which involves the theft of military plans, documents, from defense organizations and their suppliers.

Cyber warfare carried out by ideological group’s intent on creating damage or disruption to nations or organizations opposed to their cause or belief. Individuals or groups disseminating information with a view to cause national panic or threaten key figures also falls into this category.

Hacktivism is the act of undertaking denial of service attacks or hacking in protest against governments or organizations seemingly acting against the ideological beliefs of the Hacktivist.

Online Scams, Counterfeits, Drug Trafficking
The Internet abounds with online scams that deal in the sale of counterfeit or spurious goods, drugs, advance fee frauds (lottery scams), of frauds designed to dupe victims into voluntary donations or subscriptions. Most of these frauds perpetuate through email or social networks.

Social Crime
Social crime is the act of causing emotional distress through a deliberate act of harassment, bullying, slandering, black mail, hate, stalking, defamation, impersonation online. Common avenues for propagating such crime involve social media, SMSes, e-mails, tweets and blogs. Content is usually offensive or derogatory and targeted against a specific individual.

Identity Theft and Impersonation
Stealing a person’s credentials with the objective of either defrauding the individual for monetary gain or to use the person’s identity to commit or perpetuate fraud.

All forms of spying which are not sanctioned by law which violates an individual’s privacy. This includes software’s that spy on mobile phones, reading e-mails and so forth. Such acts may be undertaken by individuals, detectives and agencies.

Insider Theft
Using computers or computer systems to commit economic fraud by employees. Computer systems may be used to manipulate internal records such as expenses and payments for individual gains. They may also be used for the willful destruction of records or theft of information for financial gains.

Hacking for profit by external parties
The act of infiltrating or disrupting the services a company offers for monetary gain by individuals or organized crime with intent to blackmail, cyber extortion, cause economic fraud or cause reputational damage. Such acts may be caused on behest of competitors.

Development of Malware, Botnets, and Sending Spam
Malware development or the setting up botnets with the intention of using them for illegal activities. Spam or sending bulk unsolicited mail is unlawful in certain countries.

Launching denials of service attacks or hacking websites with a view to disrupt their functioning for fun, protest or profit.

Obscene or offensive content
Websites designed to be offensive, hurtful, slanderous, derogatory, inflammatory, and seditious with respect to sections of society. This is sensitive area which typical ends up in a court for arbitration.​

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