Types of Cyber Crimes

What Are the 11 Different Types of Cyber Crimes?

Are you worried about your safety in the online space? This worry can be addressed by having a reasonable understanding of cybercrimes and knowing how to protect yourself. Ransomware, identity theft, phishing attacks, and other kinds of malware are used to target society’s most vulnerable groups.

According to Scarlett Cybersecurity, an IT security services firm in Jacksonville Florida, the 11 different types of cybercrime include:

  1. Ransomware attacks
  2. Cyberextortion
  3. Cyberespionage
  4. Business Email Compromise (BEC)
  5. Identity theft
  6. Phishing/Spoofing
  7. Online Predators
  8. Remote Access Malware
  9. Tech Support Scams
  10. Cryptojacking
  11. Password Attacks

Keep reading to learn more about the major types of cybercrimes in detail and how you can protect yourself against them.

How Is Cybercrime Affecting Our World?

You may have heard of the massive data breaches that exposed the information of major companies such as Target in the past decade. The Target breach alone exposed the credit card information of 40 million people. This information may have been used illegally by the attackers to steal identities and to commit fraudulent transactions. This data breach was one form of cybercrime.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime will cost the world economy $6 trillion in 2021. Ransomware damages will cost the world approximately $20 billion in 2021, making it the most rapidly growing kind of cybercrime.

Cybercrimes, targeting the most vulnerable members of society, are becoming more sophisticated and harder to avoid. These crimes cause extreme amounts of monetary loss and damage to corporations and individuals alike. However, with adequate awareness, security measures, and vigilance, the damage can be minimized or even avoided altogether.

According to Statistica, in 2019, mid-sized companies incurred an average of $1.56 million of cyber loss. The average cyber loss experienced by all company sizes amounted to $4.7 million. Additionally, cybercrime is expected to cause the global economy to be unfathomable $10.5 trillion by the end of 2025.

Common Types of Cybercrimes

Cybercrime is the most prevailing and oft-occurring crime in the world. These criminals exploit cyber networks and systems owned by technology-dependent enterprises and individuals, who then use malicious code and software to get unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Following are some of the most common types of cybercrimes:

1. Ransomware attacks:

The digital kidnapping of sensitive data for ransom is referred to as Ransomware. In this form of cybercrime, the criminal accesses important files of the targeted enterprise and locks or encrypts them. These files contain valuable data, mishandling of which can wreak havoc on the company.

In 2017, we saw a terrible example of a ransomware attack when the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was targeted by the “WannaCry” ransomware. It caused the NHS a total damage of $128 million.

When the victim tries to access the targeted data, the criminals demand a ransom. They prevent the victim from accessing these files until he pays the demanded ransom. This form of cybercrime has become more sophisticated and prevalent with time. Established companies and sensitive government institutions are important targets of these crimes. Recently, cybercriminals have begun selling these encrypted files to other people illegally and have also started threatening the affected company with a data breach if they don’t pay the ransom upfront.

Prevent your critical organizational data, consumer information, and intellectual property from being hacked. Keep a backup to restore the impacted system. This will help the organization to keep up with its normal operations quickly after a ransomware attack.

2. Cyberextortion

Cyberextortion is quite similar to a ransomware attack. However, while talking about cyberextortion, we mean a broader category of cybercrime where the cybercriminals demand money in exchange for sparing the victim of the attack. The cyber attacker infiltrates the victim’s device or online accounts looking for any sensitive or valuable data. If they find this data, they steal it. The attacker then emails the victim the examples of the stolen data and threatens to expose this data. Aside from blackmailing the victim, the attackers can also sell the data online. If they have access to the victim’s online banking details, they can use their bank account to commit fraudulent transactions. They can also put the data online for other people to see.

3. Cyberespionage

Cybercriminals with malicious intent hack into corporate or government computers and steal data to use it for harm. Remnants of cyberespionage can be seen in the shape of massive data dumps on the internet that contains sensitive information of a corporation, its customers, or records of common citizens from government records. These hackers can use the information in many ways: they can sell it, they can use stolen bank details to steal the identities of people, and they can also use sensitive information to blackmail the victims of the crime.

4. Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Business Email Compromise or BEC is one of the most notorious online scams. It usually involves a cybercriminal sending an email to the victim designed to deceive them into thinking that it has come from a known source, which tricks the receiver into sending them money. A well-known example of this type of crime is the case of Evaldas Rimasauskas, who falsely asked Facebook and Google to pay bills for services rendered, which they promptly did. He scammed over $100 million from Google and Facebook in 2015.

Some other common examples include:

  • Criminals pretending to be the IRS and threatening arrest if they are not paid
  • New homebuyers receiving emails asking for mortgage payments
  • Receiving emails from seemingly trusted email addresses asking for financial information. If these scammers receive the information, they can use it to assume the identity of the victim or make fraudulent transactions from the victim’s account.

5. Identity theft:

Identity theft is another alarming cybersecurity concern that needs to be addressed. According to an NCSA survey, preventing identity theft was the top cybersecurity concern of both teens and their parents in 2016.

The most common trigger for such a cybercrime is when massive amounts of data get hacked and dumped on the web. This data can include things like credit card information etc.

An identity thief intends to obtain your financial and personal information to commit a crime or fraud, such as making unauthorized purchases and fraudulent transactions. They can also commit identity theft by using this information. For this purpose, the criminal can use a variety of platforms.

This form of cybercrime can have short-term and long-term effects on the victim’s life. With easier access to the internet, there is a rise in the number of identity theft cases. Such heinous crimes don’t just affect the victim but his family and community as a whole.

6. Phishing/Spoofing

Phishing or spoofing attacks are executed to steal sensitive information from the users. This information includes credit card credentials and login details. The attacker convinces the victim to click on malicious links through this social engineering attack. When the attacker gets the information they needed, they can do several things: they can blackmail the victim into paying them money, they can sell the sensitive information or put it online, or they can use information such as bank details to commit fraudulent transactions in the victim’s name.

According to Cofense Intelligence, 40% of the phishing commands and control servers are located in the United States.

7. Online Predators

In this type of cybercrime, the most common target is minors. Online predators use online chatrooms and other communication modes to lure children into forging a relationship with them. This type of crime often involves a predator manipulating a minor into providing them with sexually explicit images or videos, which are then used to blackmail the victims to get money or continue their relationship.

8. Remote Access Malware

One of the more common cybercrimes is remote access malware. A computer can get infected by a malicious remote access tool that can grant the victim’s computer access to the attacker in this attack.

This type of malware usually finds its way into the victim’s computer via a trojan in a hidden way. Sometimes, it is hidden under a false update or bound with an image or PDF file. These attackers can use the information of the victim in many ways: they can use it to blackmail them, they can leak the information online, they can destroy the data, or they can use the information to demand a ransom. To be safe from such an attack, one must avoid using any pirated software or media files.

9. Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams have become one of the most common types of cybercrimes today. Cybercriminals target vulnerable people who are less computer literate, i.e., the elderly. The criminals pose as representatives of companies that provide IT support services and convince their targets into giving them remote access to their computers. Which then is used to extract sensitive information such as bank details. They then use these bank details to make fraudulent purchases from the victim’s bank accounts. In some instances, they can even assume the identity of the victimized person and empty their accounts.

Surveys have revealed that one in ten consumers lost money to a tech support scam. The majority of the consumers continue a potentially fraudulent interaction while experiencing a tech support scam.

10. Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is using unauthorized resources to mine cryptocurrency. Cybercriminals often use pirated software and piracy websites to disguise the malware, which then infects a victim’s computer and starts using its processing power to mine cryptocurrency. When the victims use their computers, the only sign of a cyberattack they may notice is a CPU slower performance and lagging.

11. Password Attacks

A password attack is a form of cyber-attack where the hacker tries to steal and exploit your password. The attacker uses a variety of tools to decrypt user’s passwords. Some of these tools include:

  • Dictionary Attacks
  • Password Sniffing
  • Brute-force Cracking

If the attacker succeeds, they have access to whatever you had stored on your device. The information can include sensitive images or files, bank details, and access to more passwords. The attackers can then use this information to blackmail the person for money, they can put the information online, and they can use the bank details to commit fraudulent transactions.


In the ever-evolving cyberspace, cybercriminals are also evolving. Therefore, to keep yourself from being at the receiving end of these cybercrimes, you need to be aware and stay vigilant. You can secure your online presence and systems by exercising common sense and practicing basic cybersecurity best practices.