Cybercrime – Definition, Types, Cybercrime UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Cybercrime is a crime that involves a network and computer, and it is also known as a computer crime. Even though rapid digitalization has helped us immensely, at the same time, it opens the gate to a wide range of threats and makes it easier to perform Cybercrime. These threats can result in financial loss or reputation damage. Ever-changing operations coupled with emerging technologies have increased the frequency of Cybercrime activities on an industrial level.

With the rapid advancement of technology and the increasing reliance on interconnected systems, cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities. This article delves into the world of Cybercrime, exploring its various types, impacts, and the challenges it poses to individuals, organizations, and governments.


What is Cybercrime?

Cybercrimeor computer crime is a criminal activity that involves the use of a computer or the internet to practice illegal, profit-driven activities such as trafficking, identity or email fraud, ransomware attacks, or even stealing of intellectual property, credit card, or other account details.

Cybercrime UPSC Notes

Cybercrooks may target an individual’s personal account information or even corporate data to either use it for resale or infect it with a computer virus. In the past 2 years, the dependence on technology has increased significantly due to covid-19 pandemic, and with it, the rate of Cybercrime has also increased.

Why Cybercrime is an Offense?

There are privacy concerns related to Cybercrimewhen sensitive information leaks to the public. The information may include internal government communications, military deployment, or private data of individuals. Cybercrime is not only confined to the individual alone. It has become a matter of big concern for governments and big organizations globally.

Cyberwarfare is Cybercrime crossing international borders and involves the action of at least one nation-state. Nearly one percent or close to $600 billion is lost to Cybercrime each year, as per a study by CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies ) in 2018.

Types of Cybercrime

There are various forms of Cybercrime, namely- phishing, malware, cyberbullying, crypto-jacking, Cyber espionage, etc, and we have discussed these below in brief.

  • Phishing– Phishing attacks take place when spam or fraudulent emails or other forms of communication are sent to people through a source that seems reputable.
  • Malware– It is a type of Cyber Attack where malicious software, programs, or codes are used to corrupt data and damage or disables computers or other devices such as mobiles, tablets, networks, etc.
  • Cyberbullying– It is also a Cybercrime where computers, tablets, or mobile phones are used to send, post, or share private, negative, or false information about someone without their consent to cause embarrassment or humiliation.
  • Cryptojacking– Here, the attacker breaks into a person’s computing device to extract money from the target in the form of cryptocurrency without their consent or knowledge.
  • Cyber Espionage– Cyber espionage occurs when an attacker illicitly steals or gains access to a company’s or government’s classified, sensitive data or intellectual property to gain an advantage over the entity.

National Cybercrime Reporting Portal

To cater to the concerns and reports of victims of Cybercrime, the Government of India has launched National Cybercrime Reporting Portal. Through this portal, victims can report anonymous complaints concerning child pornography, child sexual abuse material, or incidents of rape/gang rape in addition to other online, mobile, or social media crimes of hacking, financial fraud, cryptocurrency, etc. The complaints reported on the portal are handled by the police authorities of the concerned State/Union Territory. False complaints are liable to penal action as per the Indian Penal Code.

Laws Against Cybercrime in India

The Information Technology Act or IT Act 2000 covers various Cybercrimes under the cyber law of India. The IT Act went through amendments under the Indian Penal Code in 2008. They were implemented at the beginning of 2009 to strengthen Cybersecurity laws. The types of Cybercrimes covered under the IT Act 2000 include- Identity theft, hacking, cyberterrorism, trade secrets, freedom of speech, defamation, harassment, and stalking.

Cybercrime in India

According to a survey, Indian customers have lost more than 18 billion dollars to Cybercrime. In the year 2018, the nation registered over 27,000 occurrences of Cybercrime. It was more than 121% rise than the previous 2 years. The banking and financial industries are most targeted. Apart from financial losses, Cyber Crime has a negative influence on public safety.

Cybercrime UPSC

Cybercrime has a direct relationship with the economy, internal security, and science & tech sections of the UPSC syllabus. UPSC wants future civil servants to have comprehensive knowledge of this threat, as it would help them prevent it in a better manner. This particular topic finds its mentions in the General Studies papers and Science & Tech UPSC Syllabus.  To tackle all the possible questions from Science and Tech candidates need to cover this topic in detail, and make their UPSC exam preparation more effective.

Cybercrime UPSC Questions

Question: Which of the following activities is considered a cybercrime? a) Online shopping b) Email communication c) Unauthorized access to computer systems d) Social media posting

Answer: c) Unauthorized access to computer systems

Question: Phishing is a form of cybercrime that involves: a) Spreading computer viruses b) Stealing sensitive information through deceptive emails or websites c) Unauthorized hacking of computer networks d) Publishing false information online

Answer: b) Stealing sensitive information through deceptive emails or websites

Question: Ransomware is a type of cyber attack that: a) Hijacks computer systems and demands payment to release them b) Sends unsolicited commercial emails c) Spreads malicious software through infected USB drives d) Manipulates search engine results to promote certain websites

Answer: a) Hijacks computer systems and demands payment to release them

UPSC Notes
Colonialism In India Code of Criminal Procedure 
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Central Administrative Tribunal Press Council Of India
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National Commission For Scheduled Caste  PCPNDT Act
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