As stated by Strossen (2000) the term "cybercrime" refers to any crime accomplished through the use of computer technology. As computers and computer networks have grown more popular, information stored on them has become more accessible and is easily erased, copied, moved, or falsified. This has caused an increase in the use of computers for white-collar crime.
Computers are objects of crime when they or their contents are damaged or made unavailable, as when a computer is stolen or its hard drive is damaged. As subjects of crime, computers provide the electronic environment in which frauds are perpetrated through entry of false data and in which computer viruses self-propagating harmful programs are inadvertently introduced into a system through contaminated files or programs. Computers are instruments of crime when they are used to plan and execute complex crimes such as embezzlement or identity theft. (Fafinski, 2008)
Variety and Extent
Computers have been used as a tool in most kinds of crime including fraud, theft, larceny, burglary, sabotage, espionage, conspiracy, illegal gambling, distribution of pornography, extortion, forgery, bootlegging, and terrorist acts since the first cases were reported in the 1950s. Low-level computer crimes were initially committed largely by trusted users with the requisite skill, knowledge, authority, motive, and resources. Traditional criminals are converting their paper-based and manual crime methods to equivalent and new electronic techniques.