Cyber crime includes any criminal act dealing with computers and networks (called hacking). It also includes traditional crimes done through the Internet like: hate crimes, telemarketing and Internet fraud, identity theft and credit card account thefts.
Lately, reports of computer (cyber) crimes have been a hot news item. What makes this particular crime alarming is that the masterminds are mere kids since children no longer need to be highly skilled in order to execute cyber crimes.
“Hacker tools” are easily available on the Net and can be used by even novice computer users. This makes it easy to spread the number of possible wrongdoers. Sadly, some of these kids are not aware that they are committing crimes until it is too late.
The Department of Justice categorizes computer crime in three ways:
1. The computer as a target – attacking the computers of others by spreading viruses.
2. The computer as a weapon – using a computer to commit “traditional crime” that we see in the physical world like fraud or illegal gambling.
3. The computer as an accessory – using a computer to store illegal or stolen information.
Different Types of Cyber Crime
With the fast and continuous rise of global internet usage, the threat of cyber crime grows proportionately. Although some of these crimes are relatively harmless, others can be very serious and which may carry with them felony charges. Here are a few of the more common forms of cyber crime.
1. Spam: The most common type of cyber crime is spam where “unsolicited electronic communications” flood e-mails and websites.
2. Fraud: Credit fraud is another common form of cyber crime. Some computer viruses can log keystrokes on your keyboard and send them to hackers, who can then steal Social Security number, credit card number and home address. This information will be used by the hacker for his own means.
3. Cyber Bullying: Harassment, or cyber bullying, is a growing problem among teenagers. This has become so prevalent that many countries have passed laws to punish those who consistently harass somebody over the Internet.
4. Drug Trafficking: This crime has been happening over the Internet. encrypted email or passwordprotected message boards are utilized by many drug traffickers to arrange drug deals.
5. Cyberterrorism: There are many forms of cyberterrorism. Sometimes it’s a rather smart hacker breaking into a government website, other times it’s just a group of like-minded Internet users who crash a website by flooding it with traffic. No matter how harmless it may seem, it is still illegal.
6. Piracy: the most talked about form of cyber crime is thievery like downloading music from peer-to-peer websites. This is illegal and therefore a form of cyber crime.
One of the ways you can become a victim of these cyber crimes is by the frequent changing of physical address, cell-phone numbers, and e-mail accounts. Unfortunately these personal information can end up being public where they fall into the hands of unscrupulous hackers. All this can be avoided by utilizing the programs like GrandCentral or YouMail (highly recommended by 4 Hour Work Week Author Tim Ferriss) which provides an exclusive area number code of your choice that goes directly to your own phone. The user can give this GrandCentral or YouMail number only to family members and close, trusted friends.