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What is Cybercrime?

by Mary Sewell

What is cybercrime? This is a difficult question to answer because cybercrime can be understood in many ways. Generally speaking, cybercrime refers to offenses carried out using a computer or the internet. However, as technology evolves and more people use the internet for criminal purposes, the definition of cybercrime has become broader. In this article, we will explore cybercrime from an Australian legal perspective. We will look at who commits cybercrime, why they do it, and how. We will also discuss the potential impacts of cybercrime on individuals and businesses.

Cybercrime in Australia

Cybercrime is a relatively new phenomenon, so the law is still developing in this area. In Australia, cybercrime is governed by both state and federal legislation. The most well-known legislation at the national level is the Cybercrime Act 2001 (Cth). This Act creates offenses for a range of activities, including unauthorized access to, or interference with, computer systems (known as hacking), cyber-related fraud, and child pornography offenses. The Cybercrime Act also contains several provisions that aim to prevent and investigate cybercrime.

At the state level, there are several pieces of legislation that deal with cybercrime. For example, in New South Wales, the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) creates cyber-related fraud and cyberstalking offenses. The Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) also contains several provisions that deal with cybercrime, including crimes relating to the unauthorized use of computer systems and cyberbullying.


Why commit cybercrime?

Generally speaking, the vast majority of cybercrime is committed for financial gain. However, there are other motivations for cybercrime, such as political activism or cyber-related harassment. Identity fraud is also commonly committed online by using popular social media platforms to obtain personal information such as birthdates, addresses, and contact details. This information can be used to apply for credit cards or loans in the victim’s name. Such crimes are not just committed by singular individuals looking for personal gain. Still, companies and governments are even known to use spyware to hack into phones and computers to keep tabs on the opposition.

Types of cybercrime

There are several methods that criminals use to commit cybercrime. One common method is phishing, which involves sending emails that appear to be from a legitimate source (such as a bank or government department) to trick the recipient into disclosing personal information or clicking on a malicious link. Another common method is malware, which is software that is designed to damage or disable computer systems. Malware can be spread via email attachments, websites, or downloading a file from the internet. This overview of the legalities of cybercrime contains further information on different types of cybercrime to help you understand the full picture.

Effect of cybercrime

Cybercrime can have a range of impacts on individuals and businesses. For example, cybercrime can result in financial losses, damage to computer systems, and the theft of personal information. In some cases, cybercrime can also lead to physical harm. For instance, cyberstalking can cause victims to feel scared or threatened, and cyberbullying can lead to anxiety and depression.

If you have been the victim of cybercrime, there are several things you can do. Firstly, you should report the incident to the police. You should also report it to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) via their online reporting tool. If you have been the victim of cyber-related fraud, you should also report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) via their Scamwatch website. Finally, you should protect your computer systems and personal information from future attacks. This may include installing security software, changing your passwords, and being cautious about the emails and websites you visit.

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