Cybercrime or computer crime is any type of crime directed by electronic operations and targets to violate the security mechanisms of computers and the data stored on them (Wall, 2007). It is usually conducted via computer systems or network and leads to damage to computer programs or data, corruption of the normal functioning of computer system or network, unauthorized access, interception of data or processes, and computer espionage. In general, cybercrime involves the stealing of information, money, software, or data through a network and is mostly associated with hacking, child pornography, copyright infringement, and child grooming (Wall, 2007). Cybercrime is categorized into three categories including crime against property, individuals and government which are explained below.
Cybercrimes that affect individuals are the most and involves things like trafficking and grooming, spamming or emails, cyber stalking, phishing, identity theft, distribution of pornography, drug trafficking and selling on online platforms, and cheating and fraud (Wall, 2007). In general, cybercrimes aimed at individuals’ targets misuse of personal information, introduction of sexual content and information to minors, use of fake emails to get personal information, and identity theft. In addition to this, this type of cybercrime also involves breaching of individual privacy and use of personal credentials to solicit for favors, access, information, money, software, or data from other individuals or companies (Wall, 2007).
Apart from that, another form of cybercrime that is also on the rise is crime against property. This category involves crimes including computer vandalism, unofficial access to computer systems, virus transmission, and fraud thefts (Wall, 2007). This category of crimes target the destruction of data and information, stealing of information and data and stealing of other valuable property through use of computer systems. The major form of this type of cybercrime is hacking and involves unauthorized access to computer systems or networks to obtain information and data. It can also involve stealing of money, valuable secrets, credentials, and software data that is valuable for companies, organizations and individuals (Wall, 2007).
In addition to this, another major form of cybercrime is crime against the government. This is also an increasing area of computer crime and involves cyber terrorism, forgery, monetary crimes, sale of illegal things, online gambling or betting, and child pornography (Wall, 2007). Such crimes are mainly targeted to the government and are out to cause panic, unrest, illegal access to privileges, and stealing of information and data. Cyber terrorism which is a major form of such crimes aims at causing terror among citizens, causing fear and destruction of important government information and data. Cyber terrorists use their knowledge of information systems to cause frustrations and panic so that they can coerce a government into their personal gains.
In conclusion, it is clear that cybercrime is any criminal act committed through use of computer systems or network. It is an upcoming vast area of computer misuse and attack and needs attention in order to avert its effects on information flow and security (Wall, 2007). Cybercrime can be divided into three major categories including crimes against property, individuals, and the government. Crimes against individuals aim at breaching personal privacy and using private information to gain money, data, and information. On the other hand, crimes against property aim at destruction of property, access to important property information, and unlawful gain of money from property. Apart from that, those against the government aim at obtaining data and information or causing terror in a country for personal gains.