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What Is Cybercrime?

Rima Chandra
What Is Cybercrime?

Cybercrimes have topped the digital headlines, and the result of this ongoing media coverage is that people might feel a little more stressed knowing cybercrimes are apparently profitable and unchecked. Obviously, cybercrimes need to be taken seriously, and the first thing that you can do to protect yourself is to understand what they are.

By way of comparison, traditional crime is crime that takes place in the real world. For instance, crime at an employer's property is often dubbed work-environment crime. Crime in the city streets is called street crime. Similarly, cybercrime is simply digital crime or crime that takes place online. Whenever there is an environment with people in it, there will be crime, and the type of environment in which that crime takes place is often used to define the type of crime.

 Types of cybercrime

 Cybercrime comes in five primary forms.

  • hacking
  • identity theft
  • virus dispersal
  • ransom software
  • illegal data sharing

Although these types of crime rank in the top five of all crimes committed online, there are a multitude of sub-categories within these five groups. These sub-categories include the following common types of cybercrime.


- e-mail attacks using phishing

- password theft

- hacking your computer via auto-install software on malware-infected websites

Primary motivations behind cyber crime

Most online criminals commit digital crimes for the sole purpose of gaining more money. However, in terms of hacking, state-sponsored professionals can hack other governments for technological secrets. Additionally, certain types of cybercrimes that involve civil rights occur as a result of religious, philosophical, or personal differences. The goal behind these types of crimes is intimidation.

As an individual, the primary concern you have is that your data will be used to open credit accounts in your name. Once the fraudulent accounts are open, the criminal will not pay the debt, leaving your credit score in shambles. 

Cybersecurity: how to remain safe

The best ways to remain safe while online include the following cybersecurity best practices. These best practices should be adhered to as soon as you connect to the internet. Additionally, it does not matter if you connect via a computer, a tablet, or a phone. Cyber criminals target all types of technology.

That said, the most vulnerable targets are Windows-based computers and Android-based phones or tablets. Although criminals target Apple products, the danger seems somewhat less immediate because most people love Apple and hate Microsoft.

In terms of actual strategies you can adhere to to keep you safe, you should ensure the following. 

  • maintain long passwords of 16 digits or more
  • do not click email links--ever
  • use virus protection
  • do not digitally send anyone money
  • use random passwords for each account
  • maintain a watch on your credit report for new or unknown accounts
  • install all security patches for your particular operating system
  • be aware of your social surroundings and of people aiming their phone at you

In terms of your internet connection, one of the most common types of cybercrime involves people hacking your router as a result of poor password practices. If someone hacks your router, that person can surf on your connection, and anything they do on your connection will seem as if it is being done from your home because the internet traffic comes from your home's IP address. As a result, you should always change your router password.

Hi-resolution photos

Other technologically advanced types of crime include using hi-resolution cameras to gather data. For instance, someone can snap photos of your keys if you leave them on a table. From the picture, they can then have a key made and break into your car or house. Hi-resolution photo analysis can also be used to track down people in the photo.

Cybercrime of tomorrow

Because criminals are technically adept, they can evolve remarkably fast against even the latest patches or safety protocols. Future crimes that are already becoming more prominent include using fake video and audio as propaganda.

How to recover

Although the best strategy is to employ safe online practices to prevent an attack, there are proven ways to recover if you are the victim of a cyber assault.


  • subscribe to a reputable malware-detection service that can clean your computer if
  • you get infected.
  • keep your data backed up
  • keep backups offline
  • collect all paper or electronic receipts that indicate fraud
  • close unauthorized credit accounts
  • notify officials, such as police and credit bureaus
  • change your passwords
  • make a better commitment to follow online best practices


Finally, it must be said once again. Do not ever click on anything in an email. Similarly, the need for backups cannot be stated emphatically enough. If you are ever the victim of ransom software, your backup is the only way to recover.

Rima Chandra
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