What Are the Main Components of Cyber Crime?

By Casandra Maier

Approximately five percent of all Internet users fall prey to cyber crime, making cyber crime a dangerous problem facing modern society. Almost any crime can translate into the cyber world, many of them happening when you least expect it. As you surf the Internet, you may be completely unaware that someone is stealing your money or identity. Understanding cyber crime and its components can help you protect yourself from security breeches.


Cyber crime involves trespassing, theft and harm. Cyber criminals are able to gain access to your data and information by hacking into your computer. They enter with the specific intent to exercise unlawful control over the victim's property and information, depriving the victims of their personal data. They may be working alone or in groups and they are very difficult to track. However, a cyber criminal has no right to access your information, making them liable for their actions just like any other criminal.

Improper Use of Tools

One of the main components of cyber crimes is the improper use of tools and software. Cyber criminals will use email, spyware, and Trojan horses with key loggers and phishing emails to hack into your computer and obtain personal data. They utilize lawful tools, such as key loggers and remote access tools, in order to break the law. Remote access tools were designed to access systems for repair purposes; however, a cyber criminal will use them to access and steal your information. Key loggers were created so corporations could keep their employees in check on the Internet, but a cyber criminal will use them to track your web activity and obtain your info. Cyber criminals take advantage of technology, going as far utilizing the microphones and cameras on your computer to watch you and monitor your computer activity.


Another component of cyber crime is impersonation. Criminals will hide behind fake promotions like contest forms, coupons, free giveaways and gift vouchers to try to get people to give up their personal information. They will attempt to make you feel secure by telling you that your information will not be shared with a third party. Cyber criminals also know how to create legitimate looking emails to pose as institutions like banks. They gain access to your personal information by, for instance, asking you to verify your online banking password or account number on the pretense of there being a problem with your online account which you must log in to resolve.


Without the proper anti-virus software, firewalls and secure passwords, your computer and information may be vulnerable to cyber crime. Vulnerability is a main component of cyber crime because it makes it easier for cyber criminals to obtain your information. It is important that you protect yourself from cyber crime to avoid identity theft and loss of funds. Your information is vulnerable when you turn off your anti-virus software, open email attachments from people you don't know, or create overly simplistic passwords. It is never a good idea to make Internet purchases in cyber cafes, even if they are in a secure location, as criminals may still be able to key log to gain access to your credit card information.