Examples of Cyber Crime

By Denise Brandenberg ; Updated June 16, 2017
Laptop, tablet and smartphone on office table

Cyber crimes are criminal acts that use the computer or Internet. These types of crimes are prevalent in modern technological society and are becoming more high profile as a greater number of serious crimes are committed. The U.S. Department of Justice recognizes three types of cyber crimes: those that use the computer as a weapon; those that use the computer as an accessory to a crime; or those that make the computer a target of a crime. Most crimes are traditional in nature and use a computer or the Internet to break the law.

Illegal Gambling

Gambling is illegal in many U.S. states, and is prohibited online unless you are physically located in a state that allows it. However, the 2008 Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act was introduced to Congress and states that players may participate in skill games, such as mah jong and poker, but not in pure luck games. If the player is under the age of 21, he cannot legally gamble in any state. Games that involve monetary transactions, such as transfers to and from credit cards and bank accounts, are considered illegal, so gamblers cannot legally collect their winnings.

Identify Theft

Some criminals use the Internet to break into victims' online financial accounts, taking passwords, money and sensitive information. Others create online centers for trafficking stolen identity information. With more and more people conducting business online and using the Internet to pay bills, the number of identify theft victims has risen. People that use birthdays, their children’s names and pet names as passwords are typically more at risk for identity theft.

Storing Illegal Information

Criminals and pedophiles often use the Internet to obtain and transfer illegal images, such as child pornography. Even storing or saving these types of images on a computer is illegal. Other criminals use their computer databases to store illegal information, including confidential intellectual property.

Computer Viruses

Computer hackers are digital age criminals that can bring down large infrastructures with a single keystroke emitting a computer virus. These types of viruses are macro or binary. Macro viruses attack a specific program, while binary viruses attack data or attach to program files. Hacking into a business’s intranet and uploading viruses to the code are examples of these types of crimes. Private citizens are targets of computer viruses when visiting websites with encrypted viruses or opening emails infected with viruses. One of the most famous computer viruses is the Trojan virus.


In the digital age, many criminals easily commit fraud against unsuspecting victims by misrepresenting the facts. For example, an employee intentionally inputs false information into the company database or intranet. Or consider the "Nigerian prince email," where an online predator attempts to steal money from targeted consumers by gaining access to a shared bank account.

About the Author

Denise Brandenberg has more than 15 years professional experience as a marketing copywriter, with a focus in public relations. She also worked as a recruiter for many years and is a certified resume writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.