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Types of cyber crime

A simple yet sturdy definition of cyber crime would be "unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or a target or both".

Let us examine the acts wherein the computer is a tool for an unlawful act. This kind of activity usually involves a modification of a conventional crime by using computers. Some examples are:

Financial crimes

This would include cheating, credit card frauds, money laundering etc. To cite a recent case, a website offered to sell Alphonso mangoes at a throwaway price. Distrusting such a transaction, very few people responded to or supplied the website with their credit card numbers. These people were actually sent the Alphonso mangoes.

The word about this website now spread like wildfire. Thousands of people from all over the country responded and ordered mangoes by providing their credit card numbers. The owners of what was later proven to be a bogus website then fled taking the numerous credit card numbers and proceeded to spend huge amounts of money much to the chagrin of the card owners.

Sale of illegal articles

This would include sale of narcotics, weapons and wildlife etc., by posting information on websites, auction websites, and bulletin boards or simply by using email communication.

Online gambling

There are millions of websites; all hosted on servers abroad, that offer online gambling. In fact, it is believed that many of these websites are actually fronts for money laundering.

Intellectual Property crimes

These include software piracy, copyright infringement, trademarks violations, theft of computer source code etc.

Email spoofing

A spoofed email is one that appears to originate from one source but actually has been sent from another source. E.g. beza has an e-mail address beza@bezaspeaks.com. His enemy, Dorexi spoofs his e-mail and sends obscene messages to all her acquaintances. Since the e-mails appear to have originated from Beza, his friends and business partners could take offence and relationships could be spoiled for life.

Email spoofing can also cause monetary damage. In an American case, a teenager made millions of dollars by spreading false information about certain companies whose shares he had short sold. This misinformation was spread by sending spoofed emails, purportedly from news agencies like Reuters, to share brokers and investors who were informed that the companies were doing very badly. Even after the truth came out the values of the shares did not go back to the earlier levels and thousands of investors lost a lot of money.

Forgery

Counterfeit currency notes, postage and revenue stamps, mark sheets etc can be forged using sophisticated computers, printers and scanners. These are made using computers, and high quality scanners and printers. In fact, this has becoming a booming business involving thousands of Pula being given to student gangs in exchange for these bogus but authentic looking certificates.

Cyber Defamation

This occurs when defamation takes place with the help of computers and / or the Internet. E.g. someone publishes defamatory matter about someone on a website or sends e-mails containing defamatory information to all of that person's friends.

Cyber stalking

The Oxford dictionary defines stalking as "pursuing stealthily". Cyber stalking involves following a person's movements across the Internet by posting messages (sometimes threatening) on the bulletin boards frequented by the victim, entering the chat-rooms frequented by the victim, constantly bombarding the victim with emails etc.

   


 

 
   
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