Examples of Cyber Crime

By Denise Brandenberg - Updated February 22, 2018
Laptop, tablet and smartphone on office table

Cybercrimes are criminal acts that use the computer or the Internet. These types of crimes are prevalent in our modern technological society and they're becoming more high profile as a greater number of serious crimes are committed.

The U.S. Department of Justice recognizes three types of cybercrimes: those that use the computer as a weapon, those that use the computer as an accessory to a crime, and 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.

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Cybercrimes include illegal gambling, theft, computer viruses, fraud and cyberbullying.

Illegal Gambling

The Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act was introduced in Congress in 2008 and it provided that players can participate in skill games, such as mahjongg and poker, but not in pure luck games. Numerous legal gambling sites have sprung up on the Internet in more recent years all the same, allowing fans to wager on sporting events and horse racing. These are largely governed by state, not federal law.

Gambling is generally prohibited online unless you're physically located in a state that allows it. A player cannot legally gamble in any state if he's younger than age 21.

Theft of Personal Information and Money

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 identity theft victims has risen. People who 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 and 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 that emits 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 they visit websites with encrypted viruses or opening emails infected with viruses. One of the most infamous computer viruses is the Trojan virus. But security software is plentiful and you can install a program to protect your computer, at least from known bugs.

Fraud

Many criminals easily commit fraud against unsuspecting victims in the digital age by misrepresenting the facts. For example, an employee might intentionally input false information into a 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.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying has gotten a great deal of press, particularly when young victims attempt to harm themselves or commit suicide in response. It's not limited to the Internet and social media sites, although attacks in this venue are common, Messages might come via text or through apps. They might include comments like, "You're so ugly and stupid, you should just kill yourself." Although cyberbullying is considered to be a trend among teenagers and older children, adults have gotten involved as well.

All states have laws against bullying and many are updating those laws to include cyber-attacks.

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.

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