Categories of Computer Crime

Categoriesof Computer Crime

Categoriesof Computer Crime

Computercrime is any illegal or criminal activity which involves use ofinformation technology, that is, a computer and a network. Computercrimes involve unauthorized access to a computer system for maliciousactivities such as damaging, changing, manipulating critical orconfidential computer data. Such activities are considered illegalbecause they breach human and information confidentiality and alsoinvolve distortion or theft of important information (Choi, p. 312,2008).

Thefirst category is where the computer is a target. This crime is aimedat achieving fundamental denial to the owner of a computer bysabotaging personnel data, programs and operating systems so as toimpede common activities carried out by the computer. This could harmhow business is conducted and result to access and loss if vitalinformation by the owner. The main example of this crime is thefelony of hacking, that is, unlawful and illegal access to a computersystem. If this unauthorized access focuses on government records andclassified information, then it is termed as digital terrorism. Inthis digital era, radicalization and extremism has focused oninformation technology with such activities aiming at intelligencefiles, passports and tax records to aid terrorism activities.

Thesecond common category is computer as an instrument of crime.Notably, the computer in this situation is the weapon used incarrying out criminal activities. Though lawfully possessed, acomputer is turned into an apparatus that facilitates conducting acrime. Though introduction of new program instructions, the user isable to distract the computer`s analytical process manipulating it tohis malevolent intentions. Examples in this category includephishing, identity theft and sending computer viruses. Moore (2010)postulates that offenders obtain sensitive data regarding identity,passwords and credit card information to help them distract onlinetransactions and steal money e.g. by billing unnoticeable charges tothose conducting the transactions.

Whencomputer is incidental to other crimes is the third major category.In such situations, the computer is not important for carrying out acrime, but it is connected to the criminal activity. This is impliesthat the crime could be carried out without a computer due toinformation technology but computer facilitates the crime, making itfaster such as through accessing greater loads of data and increasingdifficulty of mapping out the crime.

Accordingto Gordon et al (2005), surveying and detecting computer crime hasbeen made tougher by the presence of the computer itself. It isnearly impossible to reach cyber criminal because the computer itselfhelps in identity cloning and erasing any evidence. An example inthis category is child soliciting and abuse. This is the circumstancewhere children are implored via social media and chat rooms intopornography. Gordon et al (2005) stipulate that it has been verydifficult to time and trace sex offenders using social media due tothe high privacy policies and ability to fake and hide identities byperpetuators.

Lastly,the fourth category is crime affiliated to prevalence of computers.Rapid growth of technology has brought the rise of new crime andpossibly innovative versions of traditional crimes. It goes withoutsaying that crime in this category is very frequent and recurrent dueto the aid of special computers and existing ideas. With thecriminals evolving more rapidly than the security measures andpolicies being introduced, this crime has easily found its way.

Moore(2010) outlines that prevalence of computers has resulted incriminals using high-technology digital crime to successfullyaccomplish illegal activities. The main example in this category iscounterfeiting and copyright violations. This crime has affected theindustry and staggered many businesses. This has resulted to loss ofmillions through activities such as piracy and sale of black marketequipment which are sold as originals.

Computercrimes have an effect on many businesses around the world.Nonetheless, the greatest threat which is caused by cyber crime isdigital terrorism. This falls in the first category where computer isthe target. This category is critical in ensuring stability of acountry since it can cause access to classified information,blackmail on the government and modification of intelligence files.Such a situation can result to outbreak of war and loss of livesposing a great risk to global stability. On the other hand, access tobusiness information, deleting, altering or stealing it may causeloss of millions. Therefore, I consider computer as a target as themost critical computer crime category.

Inkeeping with Hinduja (2004), government agencies conduct randombackground and security checks counter cyber crime. However, theyshould monitor social networking sites and ensure all system havepasswords that are frequently changed. Law enforcement should providemore effective measures and policies to aid investigation andprosecution of digital claims such as The Comprehensive NationalCyber Security initiative started by George Bush in 2008. U.Sgovernments should also ensure there is effective use of Cross-DomainSolutions to ensure adherence to protocol during all exchange ofinformation so as to prevent hacker and terrorist attacks.


Choi,K. S. (2008). Computer crime victimization and integrated theory: Anempirical assessment. InternationalJournal of Cyber Criminology,2(1),308-333.

Gordon,L. A., Loeb, M. P., Lucyshyn, W., &amp Richardson, R. (2005). 2005CSI/FBI computer crime and security survey.San Francisco: Computer Security Institute.

Hinduja,S. (2004). Perceptions of local and state law enforcement concerningthe role of computer crime investigative teams. Policing:An International Journal of Police Strategies &amp Management,27(3),341-357.

Moore,R. (2010). Cybercrime:Investigating high-technology computer crime.Elsevier.