Class 12 Society, Law and Ethics Cybercrime


Cybercrime is defined as a crime in which a computer is the object of the crime(hacking, phishing, spamming) or is used as a tool to commit an offence( child pornography, hate crimes). Cyber criminals can use computer technology to perform illegal activities. Cyber crimes can be broadly classified into two categories:-(i) Crimes that target computer networks or devices. These types of crimes include viruses and denial-of-service(DoS) attacks. (ii) Crimes that use computer networks to advance other criminal activities like phishing, identity theft, spamming etc.


Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques being used to deceive users. It is carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging and it often directs the users to enter personal information at a fake website which looks like legitimate one. Users are often lured by communications purporting to be from trusted parties such as social web sites, auction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators. For example, you may receive an email from your bank asking you to update your information online by clicking at a specified link. Though it appears genuine, you may be directed to a fraudulent site where all your sensitive information is obtained and later used for frauds or cyber crimes

Protective measures to be followed against phishing are:
Never open or download a file from unsolicited email, even from someone you know.
Keep your operating system updated
Use a reputable antivirus program.
Enable two factor authentication.
Confirm the authenticity of website prior to entering login credentials by looking for a security trust mark.
Look for HTTPS in the address bar.


Any fraudulent business practice that extracts money from an unsuspecting, ignorant person is called a scam. Scams committed over the internet is called online scam. Internet scams are different methodologies of Fraud, facilitated by cybercriminals on the Internet. Scams can happen in a myriad of ways- via phishing emails, social media, SMS messages on your mobile phone, fake tech support phone calls, scareware and more. The main purpose of these types of scams can range from credit card theft, capturing user login and password credentials and even identity theft. For instance Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site.


Fraud committed using internet is called online fraud. Online fraud can be in many form such as non delivered goods, non-existent companies, spoofing and phishing fraud, credit and debit card fraud, auction fraud, identity theft etc. In credit card fraud, the credit card details are stolen and then some payment frauds are carried out. The identity theft : by stealing someone else’s online identity fraudulent posts are posted or some other dangerous activity( rumour mongering/ riots fueling) is carried out.

The measures to stop these frauds may include:-
A monitoring official body that ensures the security of E-commerce Company and delivery of goods/services as promised.
Strong security mechanism by the e-commerce site and payment gateways to prevent stealing of crucial information.
Official guidelines and safeguards on the selling of user’s data to third parties.

Illegal Downloading

Illegal downloading is obtaining files that you don’t have the right to use from the internet. Digital piracy involves illegally sharing copyrighted media such as games, music, movies, TV shows and software. It does not matter whether you upload the content to share with others without permission or whether you download it for free or for a bargain price. Anyone involved in this type of operation is breaking the law. For example :- If you are a member of a website that shares music files without permission from the recording labels, you are involved in piracy, even if you pay a fee to the website for downloading them. If you are able to access and download movies, TV shows or movies for free or at extremely low prices, these are usually illegal copies. To avoid downloading media illegally, obtain it from reputable dealers that have the rights to sell it to you.

Child Pornography

Child pornography is publishing and transmitting obscene material about children in electronic form. It is the most heinous crime which occurs and had led to various other crimes such as sex tourism, sexual abuse of the child etc. Child pornography can be in different forms, for example, in pictures, videos, written material or sound recordings. Federal and state laws make it a crime to produce, distribute, or even just possess pornographic materials that portray a minor (someone under the age of 18). Increasingly, child pornography laws are being relied on to punish individuals who use the internet to share or obtain pornographic images and videos involving children.

Identity Theft

This entails the use of another person’s personal information, without appropriate consent, for the purpose of fraudulent practices. Often personal information may even leaked online or stolen during web surfing. Online identity theft refers to an act of stealing someone else’s personal information such as name, login details etc and then posing as that person to steal money or gain other benefits.