Cybercrime Definitions and Taxonomies
Cybercrime, also known as digital crime or computer crime, is the use of technology to commit crimes such as fraud, theft of intellectual property, trafficking in child pornography and other illicit goods and services, or a variety of other violations against individuals and businesses. Cyber crime knows no physical boundaries and is perpetrated by people all over the world. It can range from the lone user engaging in cyberbullying to highly organized global criminal groups involving hackers and state-sponsored actors.
Several federal agencies work to detect, investigate and prosecute cybercrimes. However, different definitions and categories of cybercrime exist, making it challenging for law enforcement to accurately track data on these crimes. Congress has required these agencies to develop a classification system for cybercrimes, which should make it easier for them to share information.
To address this challenge, the authors conducted a broad review of key cybercrime definitions, typologies and taxonomies in the academic and grey literature, using a structured approach. The identified definitions, typologies and taxonomies are evaluated in terms of their impact on current policy and practice and their implications for future research.
Ultimately, the authors recommend that a new taxonomy be developed, which is more broadly applicable and consistent with existing legislation. While this is a difficult task given the dynamic nature of cybercriminality, it is one that must be undertaken to advance research on this topic and improve the effectiveness of both public and private efforts to combat cybercrime.