Defining Cybercrime

It’s a very commonly used word these days, but what exactly is cybercrime? According to, cybercrime is defined as, “Any action that uses a computer as a weapon or an accessory in crime, or when a computer serves as the target of the act being committed”. There are several different kinds of cybercrime, which include user-targeted crime and user-initiated crime.

User-Targeted Crime

This type of cybercrime can commit such acts as hacking into someone’s accounts by guessing the username and/or password and then using that access to steal personal information to be used in identity theft, to steal money from bank accounts, access medical records, and many other malicious things that can wreak havoc on someone’s life for many years to come. Entire networks (such as those owned by major businesses and corporations) can also be penetrated by malicious hackers in which they steal large amounts of personal, financial, political, and corporate information that can be used to severely cripple an entire company. Phishing scams, such as those that pretend to be someone you may know in need of money in which to get get them out of a foreign country, or money that you are supposed to pay in order to receive more money in the future, are also claiming victims every day.

User-Initiated Crime

While most people may think of cybercrime as something that happens to them by some unknown party, it can also be committed by a person using their very own computer. By far, the most common example of this type of cybercrime is online piracy. Yes, it does still exist, even though Napster is long gone. Music, movies, and television shows can all be illegally downloaded and then uploaded onto other sites without written permission, and all of this costs the music, small, and large-screen industry a lot of money in profits each year. Cyber-bullying is another type of user-initiated crime, and while its prevalence is growing at an alarming rate, the law is beginning to put regulations in place to help prevent some of this.

So, how can cybercrime be prevented? According to the experts, it’s virtually impossible to eliminate all cybercrime, but a person can take certain steps to protect themselves from becoming an obvious victim. Things such as making sure they have reputable, up-to-date anti-virus software installed on their computer, and being aware of the types of phishing scams that are out there and how they work can go a long way towards avoiding becoming a victim.

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