The article 'Cybercrime and Its classification' aims to critically analyze the evolution of cybercrime along with its various types and characteristics in detail.

The article 'Cybercrime and Its classification' aims to critically analyze the evolution of cybercrime along with its various types and characteristics in detail. In today’s modern era, with due progress and advancement in technology, both computers and the internet have arguably played a pivotal role and serve as the most impactful inventions the world has ever seen.They have transformed our lives remarkably, and now it’s almost impossible to imagine our lives without them. However, it...

The article 'Cybercrime and Its classification' aims to critically analyze the evolution of cybercrime along with its various types and characteristics in detail. In today’s modern era, with due progress and advancement in technology, both computers and the internet have arguably played a pivotal role and serve as the most impactful inventions the world has ever seen.

They have transformed our lives remarkably, and now it’s almost impossible to imagine our lives without them. However, it is pertinent to note that everything in this world has its positives as well as drawbacks and computers & internet are no exceptions to it. Today technology has instead turned out to be a bane than a boon due to its risk factors. Over the years, cybercrime has evolved as an uncontrollable menace to society, having its base in the misuse of growing dependence on technology.


As mentioned earlier, cybercrime has remained stigmatized in society for quite a long period. It includes any criminal activity which takes place through the internet, computers or any other medium recognized by the Information Technology Act. With the advancement in technology, the number of cyber cases is also proliferating every day. It is significant to note that to date the term cybercrime has not been defined in any act or statute even though it had been judicially interpreted by the courts in numerous cases through several judgments. Some of the crimes that have emerged recently are cyber terrorism, cyberstalking, email phishing, email bombing, cyber pornography, and cyberstalking. Any other conventional crime which is associated with the use of computers or the Internet can be categorized as cybercrime.

History and Evolution of Cybercrime

For today’s generation, it would be surprising to know that back during the olden days, the first successful computer was built in a way that it tok the space of an entire room and was also expensive comparatively. Apart from this, the main issue that arouse was that the functioning of the computers which existed during that time was not understandable to the majority of people as only a few people who had some basic idea and clarity or expertise about the same were able to know about it.

Earlier, computer technology was extremely expensive due to many reasons and it was IBM who undertook the first step by introducing its “personal computer” in 1981. By the 21st century, the cost of personal computers became even less and in fact, remained like a household item. The idea of establishing the Internet was first started by the US department of defence with the plan to create a network which could function even during natural calamities and also securely transmit information. The first ever network was known as ARPANET with the development of Internet protocol/Transfer protocol, after which the internet became widespread all over the world. Apart from its advantages, no one could foresee its possible after-effects.

It was during the year 1820 when the first ever cybercrime was recorded officially. However, it is essential to note that the era of modern computers began with the analytical engine of Charles Babbage. In 1820, the French textile manufacturer Joseph-Marie Jacquard produced the loom. This device made it possible to repeat the stages of weaving special fabrics. This made Jacquard workers fear that their traditional jobs and livelihoods were at risk. They engaged in sabotage to prevent Jacquard from using the new technology. And this incident ultimately became the first ever cybercrime in records.

On the other hand, when we take a close look at computer crime, particularly in the 1980s, the legislators became a lot more attentive as they were highly reliant upon computerization since the Catalyst incident cases exposed multiple vulnerabilities for computer crime breaches. Due to the surreal growth and impact of the internet, computer crime has become so extensive that it is now possible to extract and transmit data from any geographical point on the planet, which has ultimately created complexities in criminal investigative efforts.

Today, computer technology has drastically altered the criminal justice system in a way that opportunistic criminals have started to utilize computers as their main weapon to commit illegal acts in cases where the computer serves as the key instrument of the crime and also in cases where the victim’s computer system is the target of the act. Surprisingly, the most common thing among all these crimes is that in most cases, the offender depends upon the lack of technical skills of law enforcement agencies to successfully commit crimes and escape detection. Based upon the available empirical evidence gathered through the self-assessed skills of investigators, computer criminals would have sufficient reason to be confident in their ability to avoid the detection of their crimes.

Hence, it is very evident that technological progress has certainly acted as a foundational step for the world which is in existence today. People all over the world have started to make the best use of it. As mentioned earlier, it has transformed our lives in every sense. These changes have enabled us to carry out operations at ease from different places and also gather and transmit information effortlessly that could prove expensive. However, it would be rather appropriate to view the advancement in technology as a double-edged sword since although it has enhanced conveniences for many, at the same time it has also opened the doors for many criminals.

Definition of Cybercrime 

As mentioned earlier, the term cybercrime has not yet been defined in any statute. The most surprising fact is that it is not even defined in the act under which it is governed i.e,(Information technology Act, 2000). As of now, the definition of cybercrime is much more generalised in a way that it includes any illegal activity which is carried over or with the help of computers or the internet.

According to the definitions given by Dr K. Jaishankar and Dr Debarati Halder, the term ‘cybercrime’ includes “Offences committed against individuals or groups of individuals with the criminal intention of intentionally damaging the victim's reputation or causing direct or indirect physical or mental harm or damage to the victim using modern communication networks such as the Internet (chat rooms, emails, message boards and groups) and mobile phones.

On the other hand, the oxford dictionary defines the term cybercrime as “Criminal activities carried out using computers or the Internet.”

“Cybercrime may be said to be those species, of which, the genus is the conventional crime, and where either the computer is an object or subject of the conduct constituting a crime.”

Nature and Scope of Cybercrime

Even though it’s a tough pill to digest, we need to accept the reality that no matter how many steps we undertake, it’s almost impossible to establish a society without cybercrime. In simple terms, it can be said that when we find it difficult to control or minimise the crime rate in the real world, which is in existence then how would it be possible to regulate the same in the virtual world, which is comparatively more unreal everlasting and less legally verifiable. It’s important to understand that the nature and scope of crimes are not static instead it’s dynamic since it largely depends upon the nature of society. To understand the crimes happening around us in the first place, it is essential to verify all the factors which influence and contribute to the crime.

The precautionary measures adopted by the machinery to control the crime must be taken into consideration while analysing the nature and scope of the crime. Instead of providing effective solutions to the state to regulate and control the problems, the progress in technology has led to numerous problems and has played a crucial role in creating conflicting situations in society which has made it even more difficult to ensure effective implementation of the laws. It is high time to understand the reality that the state is not vested with enough knowledge to handle modern crimes.

Computer technology has certainly created a profound impact as it made life not only comfortable but also greatly helped various parts of the world to converge socially, economically and culturally. However, apart from its merits, it has also created jurisdictional issues in the legal system.

Jurisdiction is one important aspect that comes into the picture while dealing with cases of cybercrimes. It involves a lot of ambiguity and controversies due to a lack of clarity on the part of courts while addressing cases about cybercrimes. This is because cybercrime is borderless since the crimes are carried out in the virtual world and this is the reason why it is difficult to control it.

The laws are not advanced and extensively applicable beyond territories since it is far different from the crime which is in existence. Thus, it would be apt to say that it is the global dimension of cybercrime which has made it difficult to tackle these problems. The periodic evolution and advancement in technology have gifted numerous benefits but at the same time, it has also provided the necessary scope for criminals to commit crimes with the least chance of detection. Human society has become vulnerable to cybercrime as it becomes increasingly dependent on technology.

It has emerged as a global phenomenon due to which it can’t be generalized as a crime. It is high time that we need to start realizing the urging importance of implementing and enact new laws to protect our society from this social evil called “cybercrime”.

Doctrine of Mensrea and Actus Reus in Cybercrime

Actus reus and MensRea are two vital aspects of a crime. Actus reus means “Such result of human conduct as the law seeks to prevent ”. There must be omission or commission to constitute a crime. On the other hand, men’s rea means “A guilty state of mind ”. Almost in all instances, a crime requires some sort of mental aspect. But in the case of cybercrimes, it is difficult to determine it. In cybercrimes, it is essential to analyse the hacker’s state of mind and during the commission of the crime whether he was aware that the access was unauthorised. It is easier to prove the hacker's awareness if he is an outsider and does not have access rights. But in exceptional circumstances, where the hacker is an employee of a company and is vested with limited access it becomes extremely hard to showcase that he has done a crime exceeding the purview of his limit.

At the same time, actus reus has also turned out to be a huge challenge in cybercrimes as the entire act is committed in different surroundings. Even though there are cases where the perpetrator leaves some traces of footprints, it is an arduous task to preserve it and prove it in the courts, as it is required to be in physical form, or at least in such a form to be admissible as evidence.


In recent times, due to the enormous growth of information technology, cybercrime has gained serious attention compared to general crime. Hence, it is pertinent to examine the peculiar characteristics of cybercrime. They are mentioned below:

Geographical challenges – In cybercrime, there are no territorial boundaries. This is because the perpetrator can carry out the crime in any corner of the world, sitting from anywhere.

Virtual World – Cybercrime is something which is done in cyberspace, and the criminal can be physically present anywhere outside cyberspace.

Collection of Evidence – This is probably the most important aspect that comes into the picture in cases related to cybercrime. It is a hectic task to collect the necessary evidence and prove it in a court of law because of its nature.

The magnitude of the crime is unimaginable – Cybercrime can result in damages and injuries that can be unimaginable. For example, offences like cyberterrorism and cyber pornography can destroy websites and steal information in no time.

Classification of Cybercrime

Cybercrime can be classified into four types namely:

  • Cybercrimes against individuals – It includes spamming, cyber defamation, cyber harassment, e-mail spoofing & spamming.
  • Cybercrimes against property – This includes internet time theft, intellectual property crimes, and credit card fraud.
  • Cybercrimes against society – These comprise forgery, cyberterrorism, and web jacking.
  • Cybercrimes against organizations - These include computer unauthorized use, denial of service, computer contamination, email bombing, trojan horse, and data diddling.


To conclude it can be stated that cybercrime is a huge threat to any country. It has the threatening potential to trigger national interest, financial crises, service outages, etc. It is not an astounding fact at all to mention that a whopping 50,000 cybercrimes were recorded in India in 2020 alone. These cybercrimes negatively affect the lives of thousands of innocent people, businesses and governments. Also, it is important to note that despite the advancement in technology still, many cases of cyberattacks go unreported due to a lack of awareness or infrastructure.

However, cyberspace is a great space to stay connected no matter how far people are. Legislation and enforcement of cyber laws face several challenges due to the dynamic nature of cyberspace. However, the government must work to spread cyber awareness among the people to help them avoid cyberattacks. Apart from this as responsible citizens, it is high time to realize the underlying threat and the best possible thing we can do to protect ourselves from indulging in it is to be aware of its repercussions and take preventive measures to stay safe accordingly.


[1] Assessing Technology, Methods, and Information for Committing and Combating Cyber Crime, Available Here

[2] Profiling a Cyber Criminal, Available Here

[3] Parthasarathi Pati, Cybercrime, Available Here

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R Shakthivel

R Shakthivel

Institution: Presidency University, Bangalore. My area of interest includes M and A, General Corporate, Legal research and content writing.

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