Computer security and Cybercrime are the focus of this blog post, as we explore them in an upcoming short series of articles.

BefoCybercrime and computer security might end up battling with the proliferation of robots and we look at Cybercrime in any depth, it’s important to define it. It’s essentially a word describing any crime committed through the use of computers and often using the internet. Notably, the US Department of Justice expands on this to include ‘any illegal activity that uses a computer for storage of evidence’.

Examples of crimes made possible through the lack of computer security include:

Identity Theft, or Cybercrime known as “Phishing” & “‘Keylogging”

Most usually perpetrated by scammers or hackers to con victims into giving up passwords to credit or banking services. Typically, It often executes by so-called ‘keylogging’ programs which record keystrokes and allow the perpetrator to make online purchases with stolen card details. Here, a lack of computer security is to blame. A popular form of Identity theft is ‘Phishing’.  A criminal tricks someone into surrendering personal information, credit card and account details etc. They’re often easy to spot as not often well-personalised. In this case, cybercriminals have conned us via the social cues.


Opinion differs on what this is, though my definition is where computers, networks and the internet harm the public in pursuit of personal, political or ideological goals. A well-known example includes the Stuxnet worm which was thought to be designed to attack Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. Unlike traditional viruses, this worm normally propagates via a USB drive rather than the public internet. An updated Anti-virus program contributes greatly to your computer security regarding different types of viruses.

Advanced Fee Fraud – a Cybercrime as Old as the Internet is

Colloquially referred to as ‘419 scams’, as it refers to the section of Nigerian law related to fraud. If you’ve received an email offering to share vast wealth in exchange for an upfront fee to cover minor expenses, you’ve been a potential victim already. It’s a form of confidence trick that according to a report cited in Wikipedia, led to a loss of £150m to the UK economy in 2006. The average victim lost £5,100!

Transaction Fraud – Computer Security is Sometimes Useless

A very straightforward fraud. For example, someone might be listing an item for sale on an auction website such as eBay. But, the item may not even exist. Of course, you won’t get any delivery once you send the payment and the criminal receives it. Another example could be using a stolen credit card to purchase items.


Typically, cyber pirates look to break protection, then copy digital products such as films, music, and computer applications. After the theft, they make the stolen files available via file-sharing networks. Naturally, the music and film industries have fought back hard, leading to some high profile cases against file sharers.


Whilst we classify it as a crime, hacking is not always malicious. For start, a hacker first overcomes their victims computer security then takes control of their system. Some do it purely for the challenge of finding loopholes. Others, to exploit the system for financial gain or to cause damage to the victim.

There’s a common misperception that cybercrime is something new. Far from it. Indeed,Computer crime and cybercrime pioneer: Roswell Steffen one of the earliest reported incidents was New York-based Roswell Steffen – a Union Dime bank employee who used a central computer to shift customer accounts around to embezzle $1.5m for use on gambling in 1973.

In the next post, we’ll explore how Cybercrime is changing and what measures individuals and the government are taking to prevent it.