Computer crime, or cybercrime, is crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target. Dr. Debarati Halder and Dr. K. Jaishankar (2011) define Cybercrimes as: “Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (SMS/MMS)”. Such crimes may threaten a nation’s security and financial health. Issues surrounding these types of crimes have become high-profile, particularly those surrounding hacking, copyright infringement, child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is intercepted or disclosed, lawfully or otherwise. Dr.Debarati Halder and Dr.K.Jaishankar(2011) further define cybercrime from the perspective of gender and defined ‘cybercrime against women’ as ““Crimes targeted against women with a motive to intentionally harm the victim psychologically and physically, using modern telecommunication networks such as internet and mobile phones”.
Internationally, both governmental and non-state actors engage in cybercrimes, including espionage, financial theft, and other cross-border crimes. Activity crossing international borders and involving the interests of at least one nation state is sometimes referred to as cyberwarfare. The international legal system is attempting to hold actors accountable for their actions through the International Criminal Court.
A report (sponsored by McAfee) estimates that the annual damage to the global economy is at $445 billion; however, a Microsoft report shows that such survey-based estimates are “hopelessly flawed” and exaggerate the true losses by orders of magnitude. Approximately $1.5 billion was lost in 2012 to online credit and debit card fraud in the US.