10 Most Common Types of Cyber Crime

Most Common Types of Cyber Crime

10 Most Common Types of Cyber Crime

Organizations and individuals alike are losing billions of dollars each year due to cyber crime. As technology advances and smart gadgets become more widely available, attackers have more options for gaining access to people’s personal information. This problem continues to grow while criminals are taking full advantage of the anonymity offered by the web.

Many cyber crimes are prosecuted on a federal level in cases where a victim lives in one state and the criminal in another. Online offenses may fall within the authority of various law enforcement agencies because the web doesn’t stop at the state border. In this article, we will talk about the top ten most common cyber crimes.

Top Examples of Cybercrime

1.  Online Impersonation

There are many instances of people claiming to be somebody else online. However, using someone else’s identity without permission and for the goal of harming or defrauding is illegal. For example, Alphabet’s Google unit and Facebook were scammed out of more than $100 million through Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks by a Lithuanian man, who was apprehended and admitted to aggravated identity theft and other fraud charges. In a BEC scam, an attacker pretends to be a high-level employee to swindle or obtain confidential information from the organization or its partners.

2. Social Network Fraud

Social media users who impersonate another person by setting up a false online identity may be breaking the law if the impersonator intends to hurt, defraud, or threaten others. One example of social network fraud is online romance scams. Many dating apps and sites are frequented by romance scammers who post fake profiles. They also use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to send direct messages to potential victims. For instance, a divorced woman from Chicago was tricked out of $200,000 by a person she met on the internet. He convinced her to hand over all her life savings, a part of her retirement funds, and the proceeds from several loans she had taken out for him.

3. Cyberbullying

When someone intimidates, harasses, threatens, or denigrates another person online, they are engaging in cyberbullying and can face criminal charges. It is also possible to face civil liability for such activities. One in three children says they have been cyberbullied, while 12% admit they have bullied someone else online. For example, cyberbullying charges have been brought against two 12-year-olds in Florida in connection with the demise of a middle school student in 2018.

4. Password Trafficking

Sharing, selling, or purchasing credentials that have been stolen constitutes password trafficking, a criminal violation in most states. Although some cyber criminals and fraudsters may use the stolen passwords for their personal benefit, others might try selling them.

Password thieves often obtain credentials using scams or hacking techniques. Phishing sites are a classic case of a password scam. These websites pretend to be legitimate to deceive users into entering their credentials. To illustrate, let’s look at PayPal. A victim can receive an email from a scammer pretending to be from PayPal, telling them that their account is frozen until they enter their login details through a link. Upon clicking the link, the user is taken to a fraudulent PayPal site where they fill in their credentials. The hacker now has access to their target’s PayPal account, which they can subsequently use to steal money from their victim.

5. Cyber Extortion

Cyber extortion is a crime that involves cyber criminals threatening to destroy, shut down, or disrupt computers or networks if their demands are not satisfied. Viruses, spyware, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) tactics are routinely used by extortionists to compel their targets to cooperate.

In 2014, multi-stage cyberattacks on Code Spaces’ servers prompted the code hosting service to close for good. Initially, the company was targeted in a DDoS attack. Then Code Spaces’ Amazon EC2 admin panel had also been compromised by the unknown attacker, who had begun sending messages requesting the organization contact a specific email address. The hacker then demanded a ransom from Code Spaces to end the cyberattacks. The company refused to give in to extortion threats and instead fought back by attempting to reclaim control of the system by changing credentials. However, the perpetrator had set up backup logins to access the panel and deleted files in response.

6. Child Pornography

Illegally possessing or disseminating pornographic materials of minors is a serious offense, but it is committed much too frequently. In the United States, a child pornographer is charged with or punished for a federal crime relating to the sexual abuse of minors almost every single week. In 2017, a 28-year-old woman from Arizona was sentenced to five years in prison for sending child pornography to her incarcerated spouse.

7.  Identity Theft

This type of cyber crime happens when an attacker gains access to a victim’s personal information to steal money, access confidential data, or commit tax or healthcare insurance fraud. It’s also possible for someone to use your identity to register an internet or phone service, organize criminal activities, and apply for government assistance.

In 2020, identity fraud cost the United States $56 billion, with 49 million victims. Many thieves targeted peer-to-peer payment options and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Zelle because of the pandemic’s impact on how consumers shop and transfer money. Roughly 18 million people were conned by scams perpetrated through virtual payment platforms.

8. Unauthorized System Access

Under state and federal law, intentionally accessing computers, networks, or systems without the owner’s permission is illegal and is commonly referred to as hacking. Although it’s usually used to carry out the majority of the other acts on this list, hacking is still a criminal offense in and of itself.

A case in point is the 2011 federal prosecution of Daniel Spitler and Andrew Auernheimer, two suspects accused of hacking AT&T’s website and stealing the personal information of over 100,000 iPad users, including government and military authorities as well as CEOs and media professionals.

9. Online Piracy

Online piracy is the unlawful distribution of content without the copyright holder’s authorization. This includes illegally downloading movies, games, e-books, and other software from the internet. Because copyright laws govern online piracy, it is a federal criminal offense.

Take the BuysUSA website as an example. It served as an online black market selling pirated copies of Adobe, Macromedia, and Autodesk software at costs well below the retail price. Over $4.1 million worth of copyrighted software was unlawfully sold by BuysUSA throughout its operation, resulting in over $20 million in losses for the software owners. BuysUSA owner Danny Ferrar was subsequently convicted of six years imprisonment by the federal court.

10. Online Solicitation

Online solicitation is frequently used to describe either an attempt to persuade someone online to meet up and engage in prostitution or to commit a sex-related crime involving a minor. Soliciting a minor for sex through the mail, online, or other cross-border communication methods is against United States federal law. However, criminals have had an easier time finding targets and persuading them to commit hazardous activities thanks to the internet’s anonymity.

For example, in 2022, five adults were arrested for online solicitation of a minor during a multi-agency operation. People attempting to sexually exploit minors were targeted by a sting operation organized by the Texas Department of Public Safety and other state and local organizations.

The Bottom Line

In the past few years, millions of internet users have had their personal information stolen by cyber criminals. As a result, many countries’ economies have taken a serious hit. This article has discussed ten of the most common cyber crimes today. In light of the increasing number of cyberattacks, it’s important to keep an eye out for these and other threats, both at work and at  home.