History and Nature of Cybercrimes

The very first recorded cybercrime was even before the internet came into existence in 1820. A textile manufacturer in France, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, produced the loom. The device allowed the repetition of a series of steps within the weaving of special fabrics. A fear grew amongst the employees that they lose their job. They committed the act of sabotage to discourage jacquard from using this new machine. And thus this was the first reported cybercrime.

Later 1940 first computer was invented which was so big that it could fit into a room. It was not only big but was also expensive, not everyone could afford it. Very few had direct access to it. In 1970s the technology became more advanced and cyber criminals were also learning new techniques of committing cyber offence. The first identified cyber crimes were computer intrusions and fraud. The similar crime occurred in 1973, where a chief teller in Union Dime Savings Bank misappropriated money from the corporate by manipulating account data within the bank’s computing system.

Later in 1980s businesses became more dependent on computers and from that time the cases of cybercrime increased. The criminals could encrypt the data easily, can store the data and could even transmit it. By this time computers were started to be used as the tool to commit cybercrimes and also as the target. The first person found guilty of cyber crime in 1981 was Ian Murphy (also known as Captain Zap). He hacked a telephone company.

As we became more advanced by the 21st century the crimes related to computer also became advanced. And at present there is multiple numbers of cybercrimes which are hard to trace.

Cybercrimes include crimes related to computers and cyberspace like hacking, phishing, frauds, thefts, etc. The nature of these crimes is similar to that of the traditional crimes.

Professor S.T. Vishwanathan has explained the nature of Cybercrimes as:

i. Any criminality during which a computer may be a tool or object of the crime; in other words the purpose or means of any crime is to influence the function of a computer;

ii. Any incident related to technology during which the victim has suffered or could have suffered and the perpetrator has or could have intentionally made any profit;

iii. Computer abuse is taken into account as any illegal, unethical or unauthorized behaviour concerning the automated processing and transmission of data.

Cybercrimes are different from other sorts of crime. Cybercrimes are different from computer crimes. However, most of the time they have been used interchangeably in common parlance. But they’re different from one another like, for a computer crime the perpetrator uses a computing system and special knowledge of computer technology whereas for a cybercrime the perpetrator uses the computer network or internet and special knowledge of cyberspace. For example: Computer crimes- inappropriate use of computer, damaging a system, stealing information, introducing virus in a system, etc.without the permission of the user Cybercrimes- phishing, identity theft, child pornography, piracy, copyright infringement, carding, etc.

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