Classification of Cyber Crimes

Computer-related crime has already become a section of great concern for many of the countries of the globe, and India isn’t any exception thereto. The factor that must be taken into consideration while deciding whether a specific computer-related activity be reckoned as cybercrime is that a distinction must be drawn between what is unethical and what is illegal. The incidence of cybercrime is directly proportional to the level of progress made by a country in computer technology. The Internet has become a key teaching tool for militants who are using it to show recruits in cyber-terrorist training camps. Due to the global nature, these types of crime are expanding globally day-by-day and affect a huge amount of people at the same time.

In the absence of an internationally recognized definition of cybercrime or computer crime, there has been a good deal of debate amongst the legal experts on the term ‘computer misuse’ practice in vogue in this regard to hold that the 2 terms have different implications. The criminal law applicable to cybercrime must make a distinction between incidental misuse of a computer system, negligent misuse, and intentional misuse of computer system and it is later, which should be treated as a criminal offense and not the previous two. This is the misuse of a computer system which should come under criminal activities and should be punishable under law.

In this technological world, most people have no knowledge regarding which types of crimes come under cybercrime. There are two sides to cybercrime. One is that the generation side and therefore the other is that the victimization side. Ultimately they have to be reconciled in that, the number of cybercrimes committed should be related to the number of victimizations experienced of course there will not be a one-tone correspondence since one crime may inflict multiple victimizations multiple crimes may be responsible for single victimization. Some crimes might not end in any victimization or a minimum of in any measurable or identifiable victimization. The usual effect of this type of crime is the evolving threat on business and the motive of these attacks has been changed over time in place of gaining fame.

There are a variety of controversial issues surrounding cybercrime. Opinions differ, for example, as to whether some widespread activities should be classified as criminal acts. Cybercrimes can be broadly classified under various categories which are as follows:

  • Cybercrime against Individual-

The term crimes against the individual refer to those criminal offenses which are committed against the will of an individual like bodily harm, the threat of bodily harm generally including assault, battery, and domestic violence, harassment, kidnapping, and stalking, etc. but in reference to cybercrime, this category can be in the form of cyberstalking, distributing pornography, trafficking, cyberbullying, child soliciting, and abuse. Such cybercrime affects the individual’s personality and affects the psychology of the younger generation in an unlawful manner. These areas following:

  1. Unauthorized control/access over the computer system
  2. Dissemination of obscene material
  3. Cyber-stalking
  4. Indecent exposure
  5. E-mail Harassment
  6. Defamation
  7. Cheating & Fraud
  8. Email spoofing

  • Cybercrimes against individual’s Property-

The second category of cybercrime is that of cybercrimes against all types of property. As there is rapid growth in international trade where businesses and consumers are increasingly using computers to create, transmit, and store information in electronic form instead of traditional paper documents. There are certain offenses that affect a person’s property. These cybercrimes are known as cyber crimes against the property. 

These types of cyber crimes include cyber vandalism to stealing databases of other organizations with the help of corporate cyberspies for spreading harm. Like in the real world, a cybercriminal can also steal a person’s bank details; misuse the credit card for online purchasing; use software to gain access to an organization’s website for disrupting the systems of the organization, etc.

  • Cybercrimes against Government or Organization-

There are certain offenses done by a group of persons intending to threaten the international governments or firms, companies, Group of Individuals by using internet facilities. These cybercrimes are known as cybercrimes against organizations. As compared to the other two categories, cyber terrorism is referred to as crimes against a government. Cybercrimes against the Government include a cyber attack on the government website, military website or cyber terrorism, etc.

These crimes are committed with the aim of spreading terror among people of a specific country by circulating false information. This category can cause panic amongst the civilian population if successful. In this category of cybercrime, cybercriminals hack Company websites, government firms, and military websites or circulate propaganda. The perpetrators can be unfriendly governments of other nations or terrorist outfits. This includes:

  1. Cyber terrorism
  2. Possession of unauthorized information
  3. Unauthorized control over the computer system
  4. Distribution of pirated software
  5. Cyber vandalism.
  6. Virus
  7. Net-trespass
  8. Intellectual Property related crimes
  9. Cyber thefts
  • Cybercrimes against Society-

Those cybercrimes which affect society’s interest at large are known as cyber crimes against society. These unlawful acts are done with the intention of causing cyberspace which will automatically affect a large number of peoples. The main target of these types of crimes is the public and to create fear in the mind of the public which would result in causing fear to the government. The cyber crimes against society are:

  1. Cyber Pornography
  2. Online gambling
  3. Financial cyber crimes
  4. Cyber Trafficking
  5. Cyber Forgery
  • Computers as a Tool in Commission of Cybercrimes-

In this category of cybercrime, a computer is used as a tool to commit cybercrime. When the individual is that the main target of Cybercrime, the pc is often considered because of the tool instead of the target. For committing this type of cybercrimes, the role of the computer is the same as played by the telephone in telephone fraud.

In this category of cybercrime, the computer is used as a means of committing cybercrimes. For committing cyber frauds, hackers modify the pc programs. This category of cybercrime includes credit card frauds, online fund transfers, and stock transfers, Scams, theft, etc. The following are the cybercrimes included in this category:

  1. Credit Cards Fraud
  2. Electronic funds transfer fraud
  3. Fraudulent use of cash machine Machine (ATM) cards and accounts
  4. E-Commerce fraud
  5. Telecommunications fraud
  6. Stock transfers, fraud, etc
  • Computers as a target in Commission of Cybercrimes- 

When a computer is the target of crime, the perpetrator attacks the computer by breaking into it or attacking it from outside. This is the most professional as compared to three cybercrimes because the criminal does programming and makes use of some exploits on the computer, who always has a pretty strong professional background in computer science.

This type of cybercrime is committed only by a selected group of cybercriminals. These crimes require the technical knowledge of the cybercriminals as compared to crimes using the computer as a tool. The main purpose of committing these cyber crimes is to directly cause damage to a computer system or to access the important data stored in a computer. This includes stealing data or information from the system, theft of computer software, blackmailing based on personal information gained from the computer, etc.

  1. Intellectual Property Theft
  2. Marketable information theft
  3. Theft of data/information
  4. iv) Sabotage of computer, computing system or computer networks
  • Computers as incidental to Cybercrimes-

In this category of cybercrime, a computer has a minor role in committing cybercrime. This includes hacking, cyberstalking, spamming, gambling, insurance frauds, pornography, threats by e-mails, etc.

  1. Internet crimes are those crimes that include the group crimes that make the criminal use of the internet infrastructure like hacking, spamming, Espionage, etc.
  2. Web-based Crime is those crimes that include crimes relating to the website, e-mail, internet chat i.e. cheating, pornography, insurance fraud, extortion, e-mail bombing, gambling, forgery, spoofing, cybersquatting, sale of pirated software, defamation, sale of stolen data, cyberstalking, illegal access, etc.
  •  Cyber Crime under Information Technology Act, 2000-

Indian Parliament has passed the first legislation which specifically deals with cybercrimes. The legislative provisions relating to cybercrimes are given under Chapter XI of the Information Technology Act, 2000 titled ‘Offences’ which deals with the various types of offenses which are done in the electronic form or concerning computers, computer systems, computer networks. Strangely, the term ‘cybercrime’, or ‘cyber offense’ is neither defined nor is this expression used under the Information Technology Act, 2000. Hereunder are mentioned those cyber crimes which are punishable under the IT Act, 2000. These are as follows:

  1. Tampering with computer source documents
  2. Computer-related offenses
  3. Sending offensive messages through communication service
  4. Dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device
  5. Identity Theft
  6. Cheating by personation by using computer resource
  7. Violation of privacy
  8. Cyber terrorism against the government organization
  9. Publishing of data, which is obscene in electronic form
  10. Failure to go with the directions given by Controller
  11. Access protected system
  12. Breach of confidentiality and privacy
  13. Disclosure of data in breach of lawful contract
  14. Offenses related to Electronic Signature Certificate
  15. Offenses by Companies


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