As computers have spread throughout society, the criminal element has quickly taken advantage of the many opportunities created by the widespread use of these devices. There are many different types of computer crimes to be aware of. As more and more business takes place online, and people conduct more and more of their daily lives on the Internet, the odds of falling prey to one of these crimes increases. By being aware of the dangers, you can protect yourself from these criminals.

One of the most well-known types of computer crimes is hacking. Indeed, the term “hacker” has become synonymous with computer crime in many people’s minds, though originally the term simply referred to a skilled programmer. Hacking into a system involves gaining unauthorized access to a computer system for various reasons.

Some hackers simply enjoy breaking through computer security as a test of their abilities. However, others are looking for information that they can steal, such as financial records or credit card numbers. This information is then used for personal gain, or sold to other criminals on the black market.

Phishing is another form of computer crime, in which criminals attempt to deceive people into revealing their personal information. For example, you might receive an e-mail that purports to be from your bank telling you that your account has been compromised. The message may tell you that you need to follow a link to reset your password.

However, the link in the e-mail is fake, and does not take you to your bank’s website. Instead, you are taken to a false website where your information will be stolen after you enter it. This can compromise your identity and cause you endless problems.

Identity theft is often the result of successful hacking and phishing. Once criminals have access to your personal information, they can impersonate you online and use your identity for their own gain. For example, they might use your credit card numbers to make large purchases, or pretend to be you and open false accounts on various websites.

Another form of computer crime is cyberstalking. This involves using the Internet to harass another person. For example, someone who is stalking you online might send you threatening e-mails or messages, follow you from site to site, or post false information about you online.

In some cases, cyberstalking can involve blackmail. If someone is able to obtain embarrassing information about you, they might threaten to expose this information to the rest of the world if you do not do what they say. Once information has been posted online, it can be nearly impossible to remove, so many people will do almost anything to keep this information private.

Viruses and malware are another common form of computer crime. These programs are created by malicious programmers. Some viruses are simply designed to damage people’s computers after they are infected. For example, a virus might format a hard drive or delete the person’s files. However, other viruses are designed to steal personal information that is stored on a system.

Malware and spyware are similar to viruses, but are designed to remain undetected on a computer and steal personal information. A malware program might record all of the keystrokes made at a certain site, for example, and this information could be used to reconstruct a username and password. The author of the malware program will then have this information sent to them.

There are many different forms of computer crime, and you need to be aware of these as you use the Internet. The more you know about these criminal activities, the better prepared you will be to avoid them. You can find out more about computer crime investigations in our computer forensics section.