What is cybercrime?

Some cyber crimes have goals other than financial gain

Cybercrime generally refers to any crime that involves computers and the internet, and often describes fraud or theft.

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“While many acts of cybercrime are essentially high-tech forms of theft or fraud, some have goals other than financial gain,” Justia.com states. “These might include copyright infringement, exchange of child pornography, and even espionage.”

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“Cyberattacks,” a different kind of cybercrime, describe when criminals try “to disrupt or destroy computer networks,” according to Justia.com.

The FBI is the main law enforcement agency tasked with investigating cyberattacks, according to its website, which describes the threat of this type of cybercrime as “serious” and “growing.”

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“Cyber intrusions are becoming more commonplace, more dangerous, and more sophisticated,” the agency states on its website. “Our nation’s critical infrastructure, including both private and public sector networks, are targeted by adversaries.”

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Another kind of cybercrime, “ransomware,” involves the hijacking of a person or group’s network, which is taken over by software, or malware, and effectively shut down until the affected person hands over a requested ransom.

“In a ransomware attack, victims — upon seeing an e-mail addressed to them—will open it and may click on an attachment that appears legitimate, such as an invoice or an electronic fax, but that actually contains the malicious ransomware code,” the FBI website states. “Or the e-mail might contain a legitimate-looking website address, but when a victim clicks on it, they are directed to a website that infects their computer with malicious software.”

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