In Simple way we can say that cybercrime is unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or a target or both. Cyber Crimes can involve criminal activities that are traditional in nature, such as theft, fraud, forgery, defamation and mischief, all of which are subject to the Indian Penal Code. The abuse of computers has also given birth to a gamut of new age crimes that are addressed by the Information Technology Act, 2000.
We can categorize Cybercrimes in two ways
- The Computer as a Target :-using a computer to attack other computers.
e.g. Hacking, Virus/Worm attacks etc.
- computer as a weapon :-Using a computer to commit real world crimes.
e.g. Cyber Terrorism, Internet Protocol Records (IPR) violations, Credit card frauds, Pornography etc.
Various forms of Cyber Crime may include:
Spam or the unsolicited sending of bulk email for commercial purposes, is unlawful to varying degrees. As applied to email, specific anti-spam laws are relatively new, however limits on unsolicited electronic communications have existed in some forms for some time.
Computer fraud is any dishonest misrepresentation of fact intended to let another to do or refrain from doing something which causes loss. In this context, the fraud will result in obtaining a benefit by:
Altering computer input in an unauthorized way. This requires little technical expertise and is not an uncommon form of theft by employees altering the data before entry or entering false data, or by entering unauthorized instructions or using unauthorized processes;
Altering, destroying, suppressing, or stealing output, usually to conceal unauthorized transactions: this is difficult to detect; altering or deleting stored data; altering or misusing existing system tools or software packages, or altering or writing code for fraudulent purposes. This requires real programming skills and is not common.
Other forms of fraud may be facilitated using computer systems, including bank fraud, identity theft, extortion, and theft of classified information. A variety of Internet scams target consumers directly.
Net banking/ATM frauds
Under SIM Swap, fraudsters manage to get a new SIM card issued against your registered mobile number through the mobile service provider. With the help of this new SIM card, they get One Time Password (OTP) and alerts, required for making financial transactions through your bank account.
Vishing is one such attempt where fraudsters try to seek your personal information like Customer ID, Net Banking password, ATM PIN, OTP, Card expiry date, CVV etc. through a phone call.
Phishing is a type of fraud that involves stealing personal information such as Customer ID, IPIN, Credit/Debit Card number, Card expiry date, CVV number, etc. through emails that appear to be from a legitimate source. Nowadays, phishers also use phone (voice phishing) and SMS (Smishing).
Obscene or offensive content:
The content of websites and other electronic communications may be distasteful, obscene or offensive for a variety of reasons. In some instances these communications may be illegal. The extent to which these communications are unlawful varies greatly between countries, and even within nations. It is a sensitive area in which the courts can become involved in arbitrating between groups with entrenched beliefs. One area of Internet pornography that has been the target of the strongest efforts at curtailment is child pornography.
Whereas content may be offensive in a non-specific way, harassment directs obscenities and derogatory comments at specific individuals focusing for example on gender, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation. This often occurs in chat rooms, through newsgroups, and by sending hate e-mail to interested parties Any comment that may be found derogatory or offensive is considered harassment.
Drug trafficking :
Drug traffickers are increasingly taking advantage of the Internet to sell their illegal substances through encrypted e-mail and other internet technology. Some drug traffickers arrange deals at internet cafes, use courier Web sites to track illegal packages of pills, and swap recipes for amphetamines in restricted-access chat rooms.
The rise in Internet drug trades could also be attributed to the lack of face-to-face communication. These virtual exchanges allow more intimidated individuals to more comfortably purchase illegal drugs. The sketchy effects that are often associated with drug trades are severely minimized and the filtering process that comes with physical interaction fades away. Furthermore, traditional drug recipes were carefully kept secrets. But with modern computer technology, this information is now being made available to anyone with computer access.
Cyber terrorism :
Cyber terrorism in general, can be defined as an act of terrorism committed through the use of cyberspace or computer resources.
As such, a simple propaganda in the Internet, that there will be bomb attacks during the holidays can be considered cyber terrorism. At worst, cyber terrorists may use the Internet or computer resources to carry out an actual attack. As well there are also hacking activities directed towards individuals, families, organized by groups within networks, tending to cause fear among people, demonstrate power, collecting information relevant for ruining people’s lives, robberies, blackmailing etc.
Email bombing refers to sending a large amount of emails to the victim resulting in the victim's email account (in case of an individual) or mail server (in case of a company or an email service provider) crashing.
Data diddling :
This kind of an attack involves altering the raw data just before it is processed by a computer and then changing it back after the processing is completed.
Internet Time Theft :
This connotes the usage by an unauthorized person of the Internet hours paid for by another person.
Logic Bomb :
This is event dependent program. This implies that this program is created to do something only when a certain event (known as a trigger event) occurs, e.g. some viruses may be termed logic bombs because they lie dormant all through the year and become active only on a particular date (like the Chernobyl virus).
Virus / Worm Attack:
Virus is a program that attaches itself to a computer or a file and then circulates itself into other files and to other computers on a network. They usually affect the data on a computer, either by altering or deleting it. Worms, unlike viruses do not need the host to attach themselves to. They merely make functional copies of themselves and do this repeatedly till they eat up all the available space on a computer's memory.
Cyber Pornography :
This would include pornographic websites, pornographic magazines produced using computers (to publish and print the material) and the Internet (to download and transmit pornographic pictures, photos, writings etc.)
Money Mule is a term used to describe innocent victims who are duped by fraudsters into laundering stolen/illegal money via their bank account(s). When such incidents are reported, the money mule becomes the target of police investigations, due to their involvement.
A Trojan is a harmful piece of software that users are typically tricked into loading and executing on their computers. After it is installed and activated, Trojan attacks the computer leading to deletion of files, data theft, or activation/spread of viruses. Trojans can also create back doors to give access to hackers.