Cybercrimes can be described as computer-related crimes which occur over a network. The computers involved in these crimes are either used as a means of attack or are the target the crimes. As a result of this, these attacks can be used in a plethora of ways and can range from attacking chat rooms and database systems to individual social media accounts and web applications. This allows the scope of these attacks to be capable of crippling a nation as they pose a threat not only to individual people but also to a country's security and economy.
Types of Cybercrimes
Although cybercrimes cover a broad spectrum of illegal computer crimes, they can be classified into four categories: At the front of these is possibly the most common type of cyber crimes; those which involve financial fraud. This is typically a dishonest misrepresentation of financial assets done to mislead another party and as such, is commonly done within financial institutions. This can then be further broken down into three different methods one might do this. Altering records in an unauthorized way through means of some unauthorized process or software at the point of the data being inputted. One can also manipulate, remove, hide, or steal the results of entered data in an attempt to hide transactions. And finally, the simplest method is deleting or changing data which has already been entered into the system.
Cyberterrorism is the type of computer-crime where the costs and risks involved are astronomically high as its effects are wide-sweeping. This is because the crimes are done against government institutes with the intention to undermine some part of that nation. Whether it is through a smear piece that will incite fear amongst the people or collapsing a core piece of the government's intranet, both of these crimes would be classed under cyberterrorism.
Cyberextortion might appear similar to cyberterrorism however the key difference is that the afflicted systems are incapable of performing their intended tasks until a ransom is made. This can be done through a Denial of Service (DoS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack; which is to flood a server with more requests than it can handle until it eventually comes down. Offenders can then repeat this process over and over while making demands until they are honored. It should also be noted that both cyberterrorism and cyberextortion can go hand-in-hand, although they are still fundamentally different.
Cyberwarfare is a more orchestrated and planned type of cybercrime which involves a series of cyber attacks on one or more different targets in a synchronized fashion. This is typically done on a national level between countries in an attempt to further some agenda that nation may have. As such, the amount of resources and manpower needed in this type of cybercrime is dependent on the goal in mind and can lead to devastating effects as a result. While still uniquely different to cyberterrorism and cyberextortion, it should still be noted that cyberwarfare covers a broad spectrum as it is these three types taken to the highest scale of coordination. As such, it is not unheard of for cyberwarfare to be described as any of the aforementioned two or vice versa.
Legislation and Investigation
In the process of investigating these crimes, authorities can seize a computer suspected to be involved in some capacity. They then conduct a series of investigations through a forensics team specialized in technology. This team strips anything they can find as usable data from the machine through a thorough investigation before determining their next decision; in hopes of either finding incriminating data of the culprit or something which may lead them to the culprit. Authorities may also request a log of records from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or other telecommunication companies in pursuit of catching a culprit during their investigation; so long as that ISP falls within their jurisdiction.
As for legislation, many nations have started to come down harder in recent years with regards to activity online. This is in part because of how prominent and commonplace of a tool it has become but also because of the realization that there was a lack of understanding of the internet and the legislation needed to properly govern it and its uses. This allowed many cybercriminals to evade the law easily while continuing their crimes and to some extent is still a current issue today particularly in developing countries that lack the legislation. Bigger nations such as the United States of America and Europe have tackled these issues through their federal agencies using subterfuge among other techniques to capture these criminals who attempt to abuse these laws, however.
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