Cybercrime is a broad category of crimes that encompasses everything from theft of personal information to hacking and other interferences with computer systems. It can range from financial fraud, like stealing money out of a bank account to buying video games and streaming services with stolen credit card numbers, to more serious violations such as stalking and even murder via the Internet.
Criminals who specialize in this type of crime tend to be very organized. Their activities often take advantage of the anonymity and speed of the Internet. They can also operate across borders since the Internet has no physical boundaries.
In fact, cybercrime is one of the fastest growing categories of crime. Some estimates place the cost of cyber attacks to businesses and governments at $6 trillion a year.
Typically, a cybercriminal will use malware to attack the victims. Malware can be used to damage a system, steal data or even shut down a victim system until a ransom is paid. Criminals may also try to infiltrate corporate systems by sending emails to employees that contain malicious links or attachments.
Another common type of cybercrime is a direct attack on the Internet itself, such as spamming or denial of service attacks. In some cases, these attacks can be carried out by nation states or other powerful groups. These kinds of crimes are very dangerous as they can be used to influence political events or even cause death and destruction.