What is a Cybercrime?

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An offense which uses modern means of communication like Internet and other electronic devices (mobile phone, tablet, computer, etc) & technologies (Bluetooth, SMS, etc) to cause any type of harm (physical or mental) or loss (financial or data or otherwise) to a person or an organization is known as a cybercrime. With the advent of technology and adoption of such technology by general users, cybercrimes have become a common phenomenon wherein hundreds and thousands are falling prey to such cybercrimes on a daily basis.

A cybercrime can broadly be divided into 3 categories:

  1. Where computer or other electronic devices are used as a target.
  2. Where computer or other electronic devices are used as a weapon of committing a crime.
  3. Where computer or other electronic devices are used as an accessory towards committing a crime.

A cybercrime can be done to steal someone’s money, harm someone’s reputation, steal personal data, corrupt data, hide data, hijack data, blackmail a person, and in worst case scenarios lead to loss of one’s life.

Since we are surrounded by electronic devices – mobile phones, tablets, smart TVs, smart vehicles, smart lights, etc – we have never been so prone to cybercrimes as we are today. This proneness to cybercrime will only increase with deeper penetration of electronics and internet into our society. Easy availability of tools and computer programs to aid and assist in committing cybercrimes is another factor. Besides, the possibility of large financial gains for the persons committing cybercrimes is again a factor which pulls various people towards committing cybercrimes.

Cybercrime is not a new phenomenon. It was first noticed in the 1970s when computerized phones were introduced and hackers exploited the system for making long distance calls. Even though it has been 50 years since then, cybercrime is still one of the least understood crimes even when we have technology surrounding us everywhere. It has to be kept in mind that organizations are equally prone to cybercrimes as are individuals.

For Wikipedia entry on Cybercrime, click here.

For more posts on Cybersecurity, click here.

For more posts in The Cyber Cops project, click here.