Computer crime

Updated: 07/18/2024 by Computer Hope
Cyber crime

Alternatively known as cyber crime, e-crime, electronic crime, or hi-tech crime. Computer crime is an act performed by a knowledgeable computer user, sometimes called a "hacker," who illegally browses or steals a company's or individual's private information. Sometimes, this person or group of individuals may be malicious and destroy or otherwise corrupt the computer or data files.

Why do people commit computer crimes?

In most cases, someone commits a computer crime to obtain goods or money. Greed and desperation are powerful motivators for some people to try stealing through computer crimes. Some people may also commit a computer crime because they are pressured or forced to do so by another person.

Some people also commit computer crimes to prove they can do it. A person who can successfully execute a computer crime may be greatly satisfied. These types of people, sometimes called black hat hackers, like to create chaos and wreak havoc on other people and companies.

Another reason computer crimes are sometimes committed is because they're bored. They want something to do and don't care if they commit a crime.

Examples of computer crimes

Below are different types of computer crimes today. Clicking any of the links gives further information about each crime.

  • Child pornography - Making, distributing, storing, or viewing child pornography.
  • Click fraud - Fraudulent clicks on Internet advertisements.
  • Copyright violation - Stealing or using another person's Copyrighted material without permission.
  • Cracking - Breaking or deciphering codes designed to protect data.
  • Cyber terrorism - Hacking, threats, and blackmailing towards a business or person.
  • Cyberbully or cyberstalking - Harassing or stalking others online.
  • Cybersquatting - Setting up a domain of another person or company with the sole intention of selling it to them later at a premium price.
  • Creating malware - Writing, creating, or distributing malware (e.g., viruses and spyware.)
  • Data diddling - Computer fraud involves intentionally falsifying numbers in data entry.
  • Deface - Illegally changing the look of a web page, website, or other software.
  • Denial of Service attack - Overloading a system with so many requests it cannot serve normal requests.
  • Data theft - Stealing others' personal or confidential information.
  • Doxing - Releasing another person's personal information without their permission.
  • Espionage - Spying on a person or business.
  • Fake - Products or services that are not real or counterfeit. For example, fake antivirus and fake technical support are examples of something fake.
  • Fraud - Manipulating data, e.g., changing banking records to transfer money to an account or participating in credit card fraud.
  • Green graffiti - Graffiti done through projectors or lasers to project an image or message onto a building.
  • Harvesting - Collect account or account-related information on other people.
  • Human trafficking - Participating in the illegal act of buying or selling other humans.
  • Identity theft - Pretending to be someone you are not.
  • Illegal sales - Buying or selling illicit goods online, including drugs, guns, and psychotropic substances.
  • Intellectual property theft - Stealing practical or conceptual information developed by another person or company.
  • IPR violation - An intellectual property rights violation is any infringement of another's Copyright, patent, or trademark.
  • Phishing or vishing - Deceiving individuals to gain private or personal information about that person.
  • Pig butchering - SMS (Short Message Service) scam to get people to invest in a cryptocurrency scam.
  • Ransomware - Infecting a computer or network with ransomware that holds data hostage until a ransom is paid.
  • Salami slicing - Stealing tiny amounts of money from each transaction.
  • Scam - Tricking people into believing something that is not true.
  • Sextortion - Extortion where a victim's private data of a sexual nature is acquired illegally by another person.
  • Slander - Posting libel or slander against another person or company.
  • Software piracy - Copying, distributing, or using software not purchased by the software user.
  • Spamming - Distributed unsolicited e-mails to dozens or hundreds of different addresses.
  • Spoofing - Deceiving a system into thinking you are someone you're not.
  • Swatting - The act of calling in a false police report to someone else's home.
  • Theft - Stealing or taking anything (e.g., hardware, software, or information) that doesn't belong to you.
  • Typosquatting - Setting up a domain that is a misspelling of another domain.
  • Unauthorized access - Gaining access to systems you have no permission to access.
  • Vandalism - Damaging any hardware, software, website, or other objects.
  • Wiretapping - Connecting a device to a phone line to listen to conversations.

How to report computer crime

In the United States the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is the agency responsible for handling all types of computer crimes. To file a complaint use the FBI's IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center).

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