Cybercrime is a type of crime that involves computers or networks of computers. Targets of cybercrime can be very diverse. For instance, criminals may go after regular individuals like you or your neighbors, hoping to steal your personally identifiable information, banking details, or other data to help them commit fraud. They might also target huge corporations and their networks, either to extort a larger payout, or to disrupt a specific business’ operations or discredit them.
In some cases, criminals or groups of criminals may even target whole states, countries, or governments and/or their infrastructure. For example, you may have heard about the ransomware attack, NotPetya, which cost organizations around the world upwards of $1.2 billion in 2017. Although the ransomware did ask for a ransom amount in bitcoin, it was really designed to do as much damage to the Ukrainian infrastructure as possible. In addition to shutting down power plants, banking services, and supermarkets all across Ukraine, it also infected hundreds of thousands of computers in over 100 countries. NotPetya also shut down global container shipping giant Maersk, along with FedEx.
Just like non-computer-related crime, cybercrime can have a variety of goals, including financial gain, identity theft, extortion, and even terrorism. Criminals may use numerous methods, or combinations of methods, to achieve these goals, including malicious software (“malware”), phishing, spoofing, denial of service, polymorphism, ransomware, rootkits, and others.