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Cyber Wellness - Crime

Chapter 6
Explain legal consequences of cyber crimes

What is cyber crime?

"Cyber crime is a term used broadly to describe criminal activity in which computers and networks are a tool, a target, or a place of criminal activity.” Cyber crime or internet crime is a term used to describe offences that are committed or facilitated over the internet. These are criminal acts related to the use of computers such as:
  • Gaining unauthorized access to computer to view, modify, destroy, copy or use its data.
  • Crimes committed using the internet as a medium (e.g. cyber bullying, online auction fraud etc.)
Although the term cyber crime is usually restricted to describing criminal activity in which the computer or network is an essential part of the crime, this term is also used to include traditional crimes in which computers or networks are used to enable the illicit activity.
  • Examples of cyber crime which the computer or network is a tool of the criminal activity include spamming and criminal copyright crimes, particularly those facilitated through peer-to-peer networks.
  • Examples of cyber crime in which the computer or network is a target of criminal activity include unauthorized access (i.e. defeating access controls), malicious code, and denial-of-service attacks.
  • Examples of cyber crime in which the computer or network is a place of criminal activity include theft of service (in particular, telecom fraud) and certain financial frauds.
  • Examples of traditional crimes facilitated through the use of computers or networks include social engineering frauds (e.g., hacking "Phishing", identity theft, child pornography, online gambling, securities fraud, etc.). Cyber-stalking is an example of a traditional crime.
  • Additionally, certain other information crimes, including trade secret theft are sometimes considered cyber crimes when computers or networks are involved.
  1. Cyber crimes against persons - E.g. A minor girl in India was lured to a private place through cyber chat by a man, who, along with his friends, attempted to molest her. As some passers-by heard her cry, she was rescued. Another example where in the damage was not done to a person but to the masses is the case of the Melissa virus. The Melissa virus first appeared on the internet in March of 1999. It spread rapidly throughout computer systems in the United States and Europe. It is estimated that the virus caused 80 million dollars in damages to computers worldwide.
  2. Cyber crimes against property - E.g. A upstart engineering company lost a lot of money in the business when the rival company, an industry major, stole the technical database from their computers with the help of a corporate cyber-spy.
  3. Cyber crimes against government - E.g. an individual "cracks" into a government or military maintained website.

Different examples of cyber crime

  • Using one's own programming abilities with malicious intent to gain unauthorized access to a computer or network are very serious crimes.
  • Similarly, the creation and dissemination of harmful computer programs which do irreparable damage to computer systems is another kind of Cyber crime.
  • Software piracy is also another distinct kind of Cyber crime which is done by many people online who distribute illegal and unauthorized pirated copies of software.
  • Computer-related fraud can involve:
    • altering computer input in an unauthorized way;
    • destroying, suppressing, or stealing output;
    • making unapproved changes to stored information; or
    • Amending or misusing programs
  • Script-kiddies” gain "root" access to a computer system, giving them the same power over a system as an administrator – such as the power to modify features. They cause damage by planting viruses.
  • Very common cyber crime involves the use of credit card details that have been dishonestly obtained through website spying methods. The card details are then used to make fraudulent transactions, often via the internet.
  • Usually directed at any institution/company, 'Denial of Service' (DoS) is the name given to attacks involving hackers preventing the normal flow of internet traffic to websites. Hackers overload networks with data in an effort to disable them.
  • Incitement to racial hatred is an offence for a person to publish or distribute material which is threatening or abusive or insulting if it is intended thereby to stir up racial hatred.
  • Cyber-stalking, which is simply an extension of the physical form of stalking, is where the electronic mediums such as the Internet are used to pursue, harass or contact another in an unsolicited fashion. There are a wide variety of means by which individuals may seek out and harass individuals even though they may not share the same geographic borders, and this may present a range of physical, emotional, and psychological consequences to the victim.
Declaration: I mean no harm or infringement of copyright, am re-posting to share and create awareness on Cyber Wellness only.
Source: ITE Cyber Wellness Notes


  1. Thanks for this overview very helpful. It's quite scary how exposed people are to crimes of this sort.


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