Technocrime: Forms & Examples

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

As a result of us living in a world ruled by technology, a new type of crime known as technocrime has evolved. This lesson will examine the different types of technocrimes ranging from computer crimes to crimes committed with handheld devices.

An Online Robbery

In 1994, from the comfort of his home, a Russian computer specialist by the name of Vladimir Levin broke into the computer system of one of the United States' largest banks. Together with a handful of accomplices, Levin was successful in pulling off an online robbery that produced a 10 million dollar profit via online fraudulent transactions. Levin and his accomplices were tracked down and eventually arrested by the FBI. This sensational crime drew world-wide attention and caused law enforcement agencies everywhere to re-evaluate their stance on technocrime.

What Is Technocrime?

Technocrime is a type of white collar crime most always resulting in some sort of financial gain. Technocrime, also referred to as cybercrime because it frequently involves use of the Word Wide Web, can take many different forms. Although people are the culprits behind the planning of these crimes, these crimes are actually often committed by complicated computer and software applications designed to steal confidential information.

Forms of Technocrime

When most people think of technocrime or cybercrime they immediately think of crimes committed using computing devices. However, technocrimes extend beyond computers. Let's take a look at some of the common types of technocrimes that are being committed today.

Computer Crimes

Malware can cause major computer problems.
Comp Crime

We all have computers, so when we hear the term computer crime, it creates a sense of personal vulnerability. We install the latest anti-virus software to protect us from intrusions and assume we are safe, right? Not necessarily so. The following are common crimes committed on computers:

  • Scams - Scams are deceitful practices carried out by techno-criminals using email accounts. You may get an email requesting account info and a good faith deposit of funds in exchange for a much larger final payout, or you might get an email threatening legal action unless you immediately make some sort of payment. Computer scammers are very clever and frequently use intimidation and personal information to build credibility.
  • Social media intimidation - Technocriminals often target personal social media accounts. They may create a fake account in order to win your trust, then utilize that account to make demands. They may resort to blackmail in order to get what they want.
  • Malware - Malware is a shortened version of the terms 'malicious software.' It is a broad category that includes software such as viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, adware, worms, and botnets. Generally, malware is designed to damage devices or steal data. One common way to spread malware is to put it in an email link that appears credible but the link actually downloads a malware attack of some sort on your computer system. Financial payment may be demanded in order to restore the system so you can access it. The best way to combat malware is to prevent it from infecting your computer. Don't click on links, be careful with downloads, don't trust strangers, be careful when browsing and utilize software designed to prevent malware attacks.
  • Embezzlement - Embezzlement and fraud are other common types of computer crime. Someone posing as an investment specialist may approach you and promise you the world for a relatively small financial contribution.
  • Identify theft - Identity theft is a growing problem and can easily be committed via computer. Identify thieves basically gather as much information about you as they can, then utilize this information to obtain credit cards and loans and basically assume your life. The effects can be devastating.

Although the crimes listed above are white collar technocrimes, computers are used to commit other serious crimes as well. They are frequently used to traffic child pornography, engage in the sale and distribution of illegal drugs and contraband, and even solicit murder.

ATM Crimes

Trapping is a technocrime committed using ATM machines
Auto Crime

ATMs (or automated teller machines) that dispense money can be found on almost every street corner these days and are a common target of cybercriminals. Below are some of the different crimes committed via ATM machines and other machines that accept cards for payment:

  • Software attacks - In these types of attacks, cybercriminals utilize outside electronic devices to install software that will cause an ATM machine to do one of several things. For example, criminals can install a program that empties the machine of cash by causing it to dispense all the funds inside. They can also install programs that will give them access to customer card and personal identification numbers.
  • Skimmers - Almost on a daily basis we hear about skimming devices being located in ATM machines or at gas pumps. These are special devices not immediately visible to the naked eye that are inserted into the credit card slots of machines. Once a credit or debit card is inserted, the skimmer takes all of the information from the card.
  • Trapping - This is a technique used to make the cash someone withdraws from an ATM inaccessible to the user. Once the user leaves, the cybercriminal then comes to retrieve the cash.

Cell Phone Crimes

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