What Are Computer Crimes

Computer crimes are all those illegal, criminal, unethical or unauthorized actions that make use of electronic devices and the Internet, in order to violate, undermine or damage the assets, patrimonial or not, of third parties or entities.

Also known by the name of cybernetic or electronic crimes, they cover a wide spectrum of illegal actions of a different nature. They all have information technologies in common, whether they are the means or the objective in itself.

These types of crimes began to be carried out before the legal systems of the nations contemplated this scenario, which is why legal instruments have gradually been formulated for their control. These aim to protect the following elements: heritage, confidentiality of information, property rights over a computer system and legal certainty.

People who commit computer crimes are experts in the use of technologies, and their knowledge allows them not only to know how to use them, but also to be in work positions that facilitate their purposes. Hence, a large part of cybercrimes against companies are committed by their own employees.

In this context, computer criminals are called active subjects. On the other hand, the persons or entities that are victims of such crimes are called passive subjects.

Computer crimes are very difficult to identify. Added to this is the fact that taxpayers often do not report them. In the case of companies that are victims of these crimes, silence is based on the fear of losing their prestige. Therefore, little is known about the scope of these crimes.

Types of computer crimes

We speak of computer crimes in the plural because it encompasses a wide variety of crimes according to their purpose, although they all have the use of information technologies in common.

Computer crimes can be as varied as the author’s imagination and technical skills fertilize, and how fragile the security of computer systems is. Let’s know the different types of electronic crimes.

computer sabotage

These are crimes whose purpose is to alter, modify, delete or delete information, programs or files from the equipment, in order to prevent its normal operation. Tools such as worms, logic bombs and malware.

Computer sabotage can include crimes as serious as cyberterrorismwhose purpose is to destabilize a country and generate a generalized state of national commotion for unspeakable purposes.

computer espionage

The purpose of this type of computer crime is to make reserved data public, which makes companies and government entities the ideal target for active subjects or computer criminals.


Fraud refers to the different ways of obtaining personal or banking data for illicit purposes, as well as their unauthorized manipulation and modification and identity theft. Use elements such as Trojans, the phishingmanipulation of input or output data, the salami technique (diversion of a few cents from many accounts to a pirate account), etc.

Unauthorized access to computer services

They are all the ways by which criminals gain access to protected electronic systems, in order to modify or intercept files and processes. It ranges from the use of so-called “false doors” to tapping telephone lines, called wire tapping.

software theft

It consists of the illegal distribution of software subject to legal protection, which compromises or undermines the rights of the legitimate owners. It is, therefore, a piracy activity.

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See also Software.

theft of services

They are all those illegal actions through which the person has access to digital services, or facilitates access to third parties, in order to make an illicit use of resources. It includes from the theft of time in the consumption of the Internet, to the impersonation of personality to have access to programs that have been authorized only to trusted personnel.

See also Information and communication technologies (ICT).