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“A simple yet sturdy definition of cyber crime would be unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or a target or both”. Defining cyber crimes, as “acts that are punishable by the information Technology Act” would be unsuitable as the Indian Penal Code also covers many cyber crimes, such as e-mail spoofing, cyber defamation, etc.



  1. Cybercrime in a narrow sense (computer crime): Any illegal behavior directed by means of electronic operations that targets the security of computer systems and the data processed by them.

  2. Cybercrime in a broader sense (computer-related crime): Any illegal behavior committed by means of, or in relation to, a computer system or network, including such crimes as illegal possession [and] offering or distributing information by means of a computer system or network.


Cyber Crime refers to all activities done with criminal intent in cyberspace. These fall into three slots.

  • Those against persons.

  • Against Business and Non-business organizations.

  • Crime targeting the government.

Let us examine the acts wherein the computer is a tool for an unlawful act. This kind of activity usually involves a modification of a conventional crime by using computer. Some examples are;

Financial Claims:

This would include cheating, credit card frauds, money laundering etc.

Cyber Pornography:

This would include pornographic websites; pornographic magazines produced using computer and the Internet (to down load and transmit pornographic pictures, photos, writings etc.)

Sale of illegal articles:

This would include sale of narcotics, weapons and wildlife etc., by posting information on websites, bulletin boards or simply by using e-mail communications.

Online gambling:

There are millions of websites, all hosted on servers abroad, that offer online gambling. In fact, it is believed that many of these websites are actually fronts for money laundering.

Intellectual Property Crimes:

These include software piracy, copyright infringement, trademarks violations etc.

E-Mail spoofing:

A spoofed email is one that appears to originate from one source but actually has been sent from another source. This can also be termed as E-Mail forging.


Counterfeit currency notes, postage and revenue stamps, mark sheets etc., can be forged using sophisticated computers, printers and scanners.

Cyber Defamation:

This occurs when defamation takes place with the help of computers and or the Internet e.g. someone published defamatory matter about someone on a websites or sends e-mail containing defamatory information to all of that person’s friends.

Cyber Stalking:

Cyber stalking involves following a person’s movements across the Internet by posting messages on the bulletin boards frequented by the victim, entering the chat-rooms frequented by the victim.

Let us examine some of the acts wherein the computer or computer Network is the target for an unlawful act. It may be noted that in these activities the computer may also be a tool. This kind of activity is usually out of the purview of conventional criminal law. Some examples are:


Unauthorized access to computer system or network:

This activity is commonly referred to as hacking. The Indian Law has however given a different connotation to the term hacking.

Theft of information contained in electronic from:

This includes information stored in computer hard disks, removable storage media etc.

E-Mail bombing:

Email bombing refers to sending a large amount of e-mails to the victim resulting in the victims’ e-mail account or mail servers.

Data diddling:

This kind of an attack involves altering the raw data just before it is processed by a computer and then changing it back after the processing is completed.

Salami attacks:

Those attacks are used for the commission of financial crimes. The key here is to make the alteration so insignificant that in a single case it would go completely unnoticed e.g. A bank employee inserts a program into bank’s servers, that deducts a small amount from the account of every customer.

Denial of Service:

This involves flooding computer resources with more requests than it can handle. This causes the resources to crash thereby denying authorized users the service offered by the resources.


Viruses are programs that attach themselves to a computer or a file and then circulate themselves to other files and to other computers on a network. They usually affect the data on a computer, either by altering or deleting it. Worms, unlike viruses don not need the host to attach themselves to.

Logic bombs:

These are dependent programs. This implies that these programs are created to do something only when a certain event occurs, e.g. some viruses may be termed logic bombs because they lie dormant all through the year and become active only on a particular date.

Trojan Horse:

A Trojan as this program is aptly called, is an unauthorized program which functions from inside what seems to be an authorized program, thereby concealing what it is actually doing.

Internet Time Theft:

This connotes the usage by unauthorized persons of the Internet hours paid for by another person.

Physically damaging a computer system:

This crime is committed by physically damaging a computer or its peripherals.


Copyright: http://www.cidap.gov.in/documents/cyber%20Crime.pdf

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