Cybercrime is criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer, a computer network or a networked device.
Most, but not all, cybercrime is committed by cybercriminals or hackers who want to make money. Cybercrime is carried out by individuals or organizations.
Some cybercriminals are organized, use advanced techniques and are highly technically skilled. Others are novice hackers.
Rarely, cybercrime aims to damage computers for reasons other than profit. These could be political or personal.
Here are some specific examples of the different types of cybercrime:
- Email and internet fraud.
- Identity fraud (where personal information is stolen and used).
- Theft of financial or card payment data.
- Theft and sale of corporate data.
- Cyberextortion (demanding money to prevent a threatened attack).
- Ransomware attacks (a type of cyberextortion).
- Cryptojacking (where hackers mine cryptocurrency using resources they do not own).
- Cyberespionage (where hackers access government or company data).
Most cybercrime falls under two main categories:
- Criminal activity that targets
- Criminal activity that uses computers to commit other crimes.
Cybercrime that targets computers often involves viruses and other types of malware.
Cybercriminals may infect computers with viruses and malware to damage devices or stop them working. They may also use malware to delete or steal data.
Cybercrime that stops users using a machine or network, or prevents a business providing a software service to its customers, is called a Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack.
Cybercrime that uses computers to commit other crimes may involve using computers or networks to spread malware, illegal information or illegal images.
Sometimes cybercriminals conduct both categories of cybercrime at once. They may target computers with viruses first. Then, use them to spread malware to other machines or throughout a network.
Cybercriminals may also carry out what is known as a Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDos) attack. This is similar to a DoS attack but cybercriminals use numerous compromised computers to carry it out.