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Cybercrime is the broad term for any kind of criminal action that happens via computer networks or connected devices. It can involve any kind of malicious software, or malware: viruses that infect computers and destroy data, worms that replicate to infiltrate systems, adware that floods your screen with ads, ransomware that locks up your files until you pay a fee, and so on. It can also include attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices—hackers have figured out how to infiltrate casinos using smart fish tanks and even deploy ransomware via coffee makers.

The first big breakthrough in cybercrime came with the invention of the telephone, when teenage boys started hacking Alexander Graham Bell’s system to make mischief and spread viruses. But it really took off in the 1960s and 1970s, with hackers targeting computer systems and launching attacks on individuals via email, which brought us phishing scams, spam emails, and malware that was delivered through attachments.

These days, when you hear the word hacker or cybercriminal, you probably picture a sketchy guy wearing a dark hoodie, camped out in some dank basement somewhere, furiously typing away at a laptop. But the reality is that cybercriminals are incredibly organized and professional. They buy and sell malware on the dark web, offer services to test how robust their viruses are, and even have tech support lines for their crooked servers. And they don’t just attack private businesses and institutions—they can use malware to target people, including political figures, government leaders, dissidents, human rights activists, and journalists.