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Cyberthreat: Top 24 Types of Cybercrime You Should Be Aware of

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Dystopia

The internet, along with other technological advances, has become essential in many different aspects of life. These advancements have made it possible to connect people across the globe, creating an interconnected network that facilitates communication and enables access to information.

Today, more than half of the world’s population uses social media and around 5 billion people have internet access by many means such as computers, smartphones, the internet of things, or tablets. We are living in the digital age and we are strongly attached to our technologies.

We do almost everything with our connected devices. It helps us stay informed, communicate, transfer money, find love, entertain, shop, work, book tickets, play games, study, connect with other people, and many more.

However, although technology has simplified communication processes and provided great opportunities in almost all spheres, there are various types of threats and challenges associated with their use. These threats are known as cyberthreats.

In the new digital realm, cybercrimes have become common. Enterprises are preoccupied with securing their financial operations and digital infrastructure. As companies grapple with how to keep up with digital advancement, they are also dealing with an evolving fraud landscape in the online world.

Online payment fraud is expected to exceed USD 206 billion by 2025. In 2022, the global average cost of a data breach amounted to USD 4.35 million. In 2023, the wave of fraud and cybercrime will keep the momentum going urging organizations to pay closer attention to a number of imminent threats.

Modern business relies heavily on information and communications technology tools to function. The introduction of cloud computing, mobile technology, and the internet of things help companies increase productivity, provide better customer service, minimize operational costs, and maximize revenues.

However, cybercriminals are always on the lookout for new ways to compromise computer systems. The number of incidents in 2022 indicates an ascending trend that specialists do not expect to go away anytime soon.

For instance, the WhatsApp data breach exposed the data of nearly 500 million users. Based on trends from the last decade, experts can foresee an increase in cyberattacks in 2023 and beyond. There are many types of cyberthreats out there and new ones of being developed regularly.

Many organizations as well as individuals don’t fully understand the risks posed by the digital world. For instance, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett view cyberattack as a real risk to humanity and it is estimated that 88% of data breaches are caused by human error. Hence what is a cyber threat?

What is a cyberthreat?

Cyberthreats or cybersecurity threats are malicious attempts that aim to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems and networks. It can come in the form of malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, and more.


Cybercrimes are any illegal activity done through the Internet. It is a growing threat to society as it involves the use of computer networks to commit criminal activities. Cybercriminals can use the internet to steal personal data, disrupt services, or even launch cyber-attacks.

Cybercriminals are individuals or a team of people who use technology to commit malicious activity. Cybercrime has become a major concern for governments, businesses, and individuals around the world as it poses a serious risk to national security, economic stability, and personal privacy.

Types of cybercrime

Cybercrime is a growing threat in today’s digital world, with malicious actors using sophisticated techniques to steal data, disrupt services, and extort money. Cybercriminals are exploiting weaknesses in online infrastructures to commit a wide range of crimes, from identity theft to ransomware attacks. Hence here’s a look at the different types of cybercrime.

Computer fraud

Computer fraud is a form of cybercrime that involves illegally accessing or using a computer system with the intent to commit fraud or other crimes. Fraud can take many forms, including identity theft, financial fraud, and online fraud. Cybercriminals use a computer and other connected devices to steal information, damage systems and disrupt operations.


Cyberterrorism is the use of technological means for terrorist purposes. It can include a wide variety of activities from attacking critical infrastructure to disrupting public services. It can also include the release of sensitive information to embarrass or damage a nation or organization.

Cyberterrorism is a relatively new form of terrorism, and as such, it is not well understood. It is a form of premeditated, politically motivated attack against information systems. Some experts argue that cyberterrorism should be considered a form of warfare, while others argue that it should be considered a form of sabotage.


Cyberwarfare is a type of cybercrime that refers to attacks and exploits carried out to achieve strategic objectives through the use of electronic warfare techniques, computer network exploitation, and computer hacking.

It is the use of cyberattacks to cause harm to a nation-state. Cyber warfare can involve action by a state nation or international organization to attack or attempt to damage another nation’s digital infrastructure. It can be used to disrupt or disable critical infrastructure, steal secrets, or spread propaganda.


Cyberextortion is the use of cyber threats, such as emails and online messages, to extort money or property from individuals or businesses. It is when hackers gain access to a computer infrastructure and threaten to disable the system or compromise confidential data unless a ransom is paid.

The most common example is ransomware attacks where a hacker locks down a computer and demands payment before allowing user access again. Cyberextortion is becoming increasingly common, as criminals attempt to capitalize on the fear of cybercrime and online threats.


Sextortion is a form of extortion in which sexual images or videos are used to blackmail victims into giving money or other favors. It typically involves a perpetrator threatening to share intimate images over the internet unless they comply with certain demands.

Victims of sextortion often feel ashamed and embarrassed, making them reluctant to report the crime and seek help. As such, sextortion is a growing problem that needs to be addressed to protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation.

Online scams

Online scams are a type of cybercrime that involve deception or fraud perpetrated through the use of the internet. They can take many different forms, from email scams to online dating scams and investment scams. These scams can be extremely costly for the victims, often costing them money they don’t have, and can also lead to identity theft.

In many cases, the scammers will use fake websites or emails to appear legitimate, tricking the victim into giving them their personal information or investing money in a fraudulent scheme. They can also use social media to promote their scams, often using fake accounts to make it seem as if they are a credible source.


Cyberbullying occurs when a person harasses or bullies another person online. It can take many different forms, from sending mean messages to posting embarrassing photos or videos of someone online.

Cyberbullying can be hurtful and can have a lasting impact on the victim’s mental health, social life, and self-confidence. It is a serious problem and deserves to be treated as such. In many cases, it can lead to violence, cause serious financial consequences for the victim, or even suicide.


Cyberstalking is the act of harassing, tracking, or spying on someone through the use of computer systems. It can involve the persistent sending of unwanted messages, and emails, hacking security cameras, or making unwanted phone calls to a victim.

Cyberstalking can be a very disturbing experience for the victim and can lead to feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression. It can take the form of sending malicious emails or messages to a victim’s work or personal email account. It can also involve following the victim online, monitoring their social media accounts, or tracking their movements.

Account hijacking

Account hijacking is a type of cybercrime that involves gaining unauthorized access to someone else’s online account. This can be done by stealing personal information, such as login credentials, or by exploiting vulnerabilities in online accounts.

Once an attacker has access to an account, they can use it to commit fraud or other crimes. Account hijacking is a growing problem, as more and more people are using online accounts to conduct their everyday activities. It can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, and other crimes.

Intellectual property theft

Intellectual property theft in cybercrime refers to stealing the intellectual property of others, whether it be their trade secrets, copyrights, or trademarks. This type of digital crime can take many different forms, from hacking into computers and stealing intellectual property to online scams that involve stealing money or personal information from unsuspecting victims.

One of the most common ways intellectual property is stolen is through online scams. These scams involve someone pretending to be a legitimate company or person and asking for personal information or money from the victim. In many cases, the scammer will then use the victim’s information to steal money or other valuable assets.

Cyber espionage

Cyber espionage is the use of digital means to acquire information or to disrupt or destroy data. It can be carried out by a nation-state or by a criminal organization. It can involve the hacking of computers or the interception of electronic communications.

Cyber espionage involves stealing classified, sensitive data or intellectual property to gain an advantage over a company or governmental organization. It can take many different forms, including but not limited to the following:

  • Accessing a target’s private information, such as email, passwords, and personal photographs.
  • Infiltrating a target’s computer network and stealing information.
  • Disrupting a target’s computer systems, networks, or data.
  • Sabotaging a target’s equipment, software, or business operations.

Credit card fraud

Online credit card fraud is when cybercriminals use stolen credit cards or information from the card to open new accounts in the victims’ names. They use the cards or information to purchase items or withdraw cash. In some cases, criminals can even charge large amounts of money without the victim knowing.

Identity theft

Identity theft is a criminal act that occurs when someone steals personal information, such as your name, address, and credit card numbers. This information can be used to open new accounts using the victim’s name, steal money from their accounts, or commit other crimes.

Types of cyberthreats

There is a rise in cyberattacks, as the world becomes increasingly interconnected with the internet, it is becoming easier for malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities in systems and networks to gain access to sensitive information or control a system.

A cyber threat is an act of malicious cyberactivity, typically involving attempts to invade computer systems and steal data. It can be carried out by individuals, groups, or nations. It is often conducted in an attempt to gain financial or political advantage or to create a public relations crisis. There are many different ways that cyberattacks can occur. Here are some examples:

Malware based attack

Malware-based attacks are attacks that use malicious software, also known as malware, to damage or steal data. Malware can be spread through infected email, files downloaded from the internet, or contact with infected machines.

Once on a machine, malware can infect files, surveillance software, and other programs. It can also be used to steal data, including passwords and bank account numbers. It is estimated that around 360,000 new malicious files are detected every day. There are many different types of malware such as:

  • Ransomware –  is a type of cyberattack that involves a malware infection that locks devices or files and then requires a ransom to be paid to release them. It infects systems with malicious code that encrypts data on the infected device. Victims are typically asked to pay a ransom to receive a decryption key. It is estimated that a ransomware breach occurs every 14 seconds and attack increased by 41% in 2022.
  • Spyware – is a type of malware that is used to gather information and track the activities of a user on a computer. It can be installed without the user’s knowledge or consent and used to monitor keystrokes, web surfing habits, and other activity and sent the data to a third party.
  • Rootkit – is a piece of software that can disguise itself as normal operating system files, and can hide its activities from the user. These activities can include collecting information about the user, monitoring the user’s activity, and installing additional software without the user’s knowledge or consent.
  • Adware – is a type of malware that is installed on a computer without the user’s consent. It often displays unwanted advertisements on the user’s computer screen, in addition to performing other unwanted activities. Adware is a major threat to users’ privacy and security as it can track the user’s browsing habits and collect personal information, including passwords and other sensitive information.
  • Scareware – is a type of cyberthreat that uses fear to manipulate a user into installing software that can be used to attack their computer. It is typically displayed as a warning message on a user’s computer screen, telling them that their computer is in danger, It then asked them to install a security software package to fix the problem. Scareware often uses aggressive computer-hacking techniques to try to frighten the user into installing the software.
  • Virus – is a type of cyberattack in which malicious software is installed on a computer without the user’s consent or knowledge. Once installed, the malware will try to access the computer’s resources to propagate itself and cause damage. Virus attacks can be very destructive and can easily spread to other computers on the same network or even to computers on different networks. The most common types of viruses are:
  • Worm – a type of virus that can self-replicate itself to travel through networks or computer systems. They are often used to spread malware or other types of software.
  • Trojan horse – is a type of software used to gain access to a computer. It is disguised as a normal piece of software, but it is actually a malicious program that can harm the computer.

Phishing attacks

The term “phishing” is used to describe a type of online attack in which criminals pose as trustworthy entities, such as banks or e-mail providers, to trick people into divulging sensitive information. An estimated 1.5 million new phishing sites are created each month.

Phishers may send out spoof e-mails that look like they are from well-known companies, and may even include attachments that appear to be legitimate documents. There are different types of phishing attacks such as:

  • Spear phishing – is a type of cyber threat in which attackers send emails that appear to be from legitimate sources, and attempt to extract personal information like user IDs, infecting victims with malware and stealing login credentials. The attack is targeted at a specific person, organization, or group.
  • Whaling – attack is a type of phishing attack that is used to steal personal information from individuals. The attack typically involves emails that appear to be from well-known organizations, such as banks, email providers, or even charities, and ask the victim to provide personal information, such as their login credentials or account number. The victims are typically high-profile individuals and executives.
  • Pharming – is a type of attack that involves the redirection of website traffic from a legitimate site to a fake one.  
  • Angler phishing – is a type of threat where attackers try to lure victims into disclosing personal information by posing as representatives from trusted organizations, such as banks, email providers, or social networks. In many cases, the attackers will try to trick victims into entering personal details by asking them to verify their account or login credentials.

It is estimated that 91% of cyber attacks start with phishing mail. Phishing attack has risen by 31% by the first quarter of 2021 alone. It is also estimated that 90% of data breaches are linked to phishing attacks suggesting the need to increase data security.

Man in the middle attacks

A man-in-the-middle attack is a type of cyberthreat in which an attacker sits in the middle of two or more computers and manipulates data between them. The attacker intercepts and attempts to modify data passing between the two parties.

This attack can be carried out by intercepting and reading data sent between the computers, or by tampering with the data so that it appears to come from one computer but is actually from the attacker. In the latter case, the attacker can then modify the data before it is delivered to its intended recipient.

Denial of service attack

A denial of service (DoS) is an attack that prevents a service or system from providing the requested service to its users. DoS is often used to make a target system unusable by overloading it with requests. There are different types of DoS such as:

  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS) is an attack where a large number of devices simultaneously bombard a target with requests, preventing it from doing its normal work. This can be done by sending illegitimate requests to a web server, or by sending requests to a network that is too busy to process legitimate requests.
  • Smurf attack is a denial of service in which a computer system is flooded with Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packets from a remote attacker. The packets cause the system to crash, or cause it to become unusable.
  • Ping flood is an attack where a network attacker sends ICMP echo requests (ping) to a large number of hosts in an attempt to overwhelm the host response time and cause a service to crash or become unreachable.
  • Ping of death is a type of cyberthreat in which an attacker sends a large number of ICMP echo requests to an intended victim, resulting in the victim’s router crashing. This can be accomplished by flooding the victim’s router with ICMP requests to a high rate, or by sending specially crafted ICMP requests that exploit known vulnerabilities.


Spoofing is an attack where the criminal pretends to be someone or something else to trick or deceive the recipient. The attacker uses their identity to send messages or access resources that they are not authorized to access.

A spoofing attack is used to deceive someone into thinking that they are talking to someone else, or that they are accessing a site or service that they are not actually able to access. The types of spoofing attacks are:

  • ARP spoofing/ poisoning is a type of attack in which the bad actor sends falsified Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) messages over a LAN (Local Area Network). The attacker tricks a victim into thinking that they are talking to another device on the network, rather than the intended destination. This attack can be used to steal data, poison packets, or even take over devices on the network.
  • Email spoofing is a type of attack in which an attacker creates a fake email address to try and trick a recipient into thinking that the email is from a trusted source.  Email spoofing can deceive recipients into disclosing personal information, opening infected emails, or clicking on links in the email.

DNS tunneling

A DNS tunneling attack is a type of cyberthreat that uses DNS servers as a means of attacking a target’s computer. It uses a rogue DNS server to hijack traffic destined for a legitimate DNS server, which is then used to attack the target’s computer.

In a DNS tunneling attack, an attacker can trick a victim into connecting to a malicious DNS server that is controlled by the attacker. The attacker then can use this connection to redirect or spoof traffic to and from the victim’s computer.

This attack is particularly dangerous because it can be used to exploit a user’s trust and vulnerability. DNS tunneling attacks can be used to steal data, launch denial of service attacks, infect computers with viruses, redirect users to a fake website, or steal their data.

Password attack

Password attacks are one of the most common types of cyberattacks. They involve trying to guess someone’s password by guessing different combinations of characters. This can be done by using a selection of common passwords on a large number of accounts. It is estimated that 80% of data breaches are due to weak passwords.

  • Brute force attack is a method of attacking a security system by trying every possible combination of passwords or PINs until the correct one is found. It is a trial-and-error technique for cracking passwords.
  • Social engineering is a way to trick someone into revealing sensitive information or doing something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. One of the most common ways social engineers exploit people is by manipulating their emotions.

Drive-by download attack

A drive-by-download attack is an attack in which a hacker aims to infect a computer with malware by tricking the user into clicking on a link that takes them to a malicious website. It is an involuntary download of malicious code that expose users to threats. The user does not have to visit the website himself, he or she can simply visit a website that contains a link to the malicious site.

Cross-site scripting attack

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a vulnerability in which an attacker injects malicious code into a web page that is executed by a user who views the page. XSS can inject malicious code into trusted websites that are viewed by users, allowing the attacker to steal cookies, login credentials, or other sensitive information.

Computer or network surveillance

In a computer and network surveillance attack, attackers use network tools and data to track the activities of individuals or organizations. This can include monitoring email, social media, and other online activities. It can be used to identify personal or sensitive information or to track the movements of individuals or organizations.

Computer and network surveillance attacks can be difficult to detect and are often carried out without the knowledge or consent of the individuals or organizations being targeted. This makes computer and network surveillance attacks a particularly dangerous form of cybercrime.


Also called eavesdropping attacks, it is the interception, deletion, or modification of information transmitted between two parties. It is a method that retrieves data while user is sending it over a network. It is done by physically connecting to a network or phone line, allowing for access to the conversations that take place over it.

Fiber tapping

Fiber tapping is another method of eavesdropping. It is a form of passive attack that does not require physical access to a network. Tapping involves intercepting light signals from fiber networks used for communication and extracting information from them. It is easier for attackers to carry out a successful fiber-tapping attack as they do not need direct access to the target device or network.

Idle scan

An idle scan attack is a type of cyberattack in which an attacker uses automated tools to probe devices and networks for potential vulnerabilities. It is used to scan transmission control protocol (TCP) ports in an attempt to map or send spoof packets to find out what services are available.

It is often used to identify systems that are not actively engaged in activities such as communications or file sharing, making them easier to attack. Idle scans can also be used to determine the presence of vulnerable systems on a network.

Keystroke logging/keylogger

Keystroke logging is a process of capturing the commands that a user types on a keyboard. It is an attack in which a hacker breaks into a victim’s computer and installs monitoring software that tracks and stores keyboard inputs.

A keylogger is a device that records the keystrokes that a user makes on a keyboard. The information collected can be used to track the user’s activity and spy on their activity.


A backdoor attack is a malicious attempt of entering a system. It is a way to access a computer system by bypassing the system’s normal authentication procedures. Remote access is granted to resources by creating a backdoor.

Data Scraping

Data scraping is a process of extracting or importing data from one output generated to another program. A data scraping attack involves extracting data from a website or application without the permission of the owner.

It is a practice of collecting data over the internet for malicious purposes. They can be performed using automated scripts or tools that scrape the data from a website or application without the user’s consent. This data can be used to gain access to the victim’s account, steal their identity, or even exploit their computer.

Social engineering

Social engineering is the manipulation of people’s personal information, emotions, and behaviors through the use of communication methods. It is a type of attack that can take many different forms, from simple scams to more complex attacks that exploit human vulnerabilities.

Social engineering uses psychological manipulation to trick users into giving private information or making security mistakes. It is a technique that relies on human interaction and manipulation to breach normal security measures. It is estimated that 98% of cyberattacks rely on social engineering.

SQL injection

SQL injection is a vulnerability in web applications that allows attackers to inject codes into the application’s input stream, resulting in the execution of unintended SQL statements. This vulnerability can be exploited by attackers to gain access to sensitive information or to exploit other vulnerabilities in the application.

Internet of Things attack

The Internet of things is a network of physical devices that are connected to the internet. An IoT attack is when someone maliciously uses a device connected to the internet to attack other devices or systems.

IoT devices are connected to the internet, which makes them vulnerable to cyberattacks. It can be used to track people’s activities, steal personal data, and launch cyberattacks. An attacker could use the most vulnerable or least secure IoT device to gain access to the whole network.

These devices are used in a variety of ways, including in homes, businesses, factories, and public places. There are billions of internet-connected devices in use around the world and are more vulnerable than ever.

Buffer overflow

Buffer overflow attack is a type of cyberattack that exploits the vulnerabilities in a computer system’s memory. It occurs when an attacker sends more data than the allocated buffer can hold, causing it to overflow and overwrite other parts of the memory.

Buffer overflow is a vulnerability that allows an attacker to execute unintended code on a computer system by sending a specially crafted request to a program that handles data input from users.

When a user sends a request that exceeds the boundaries of a buffer in a computer system, the buffer can overflow and store data outside the bounds of the buffer. This can allow the attacker to execute unintended code on the computer system. Heap overflow and stack overflow are two types of buffer overflows.

  • Heap overflow occurs when an attacker sends more data than the allocated heap can handle. It can allow the execution of code outside the bounds of a buffer, which may cause the program to crash, execute unintended code, or even execute unauthorized code with the privileges of the user running the program.
  • Stack overflow occurs when an attacker sends more data than the allocated stack can handle.

Mixed threat attack

A mixed threat attack is an attack that combines different types of threat vectors. This can include cyberattacks, physical attacks, and social engineering. Mixed threat attacks are difficult to protect against because hackers use multiple attack vectors to achieve their goals.

This makes it difficult for defenders to identify and defend against all potential threats. Mixed threat attacks are also difficult to detect and prevent because each threat can use a variety of tactics to evade detection.

Insider threats

In a nutshell, an insider threat is when someone who has access to sensitive information or restricted areas (such as a data administrator, system engineer, or contractor) deliberately uses that access to commit fraud, sabotage, or other illegal activities.

Insider threats can come from any employee, including those in positions of trust. They can also come from people who have access to company information but are not authorized to use it for their purposes.

Insider threats are also people who have access to information that could be used to harm the organization or its members. The most common sources of insider threats are employees who have access to confidential information, such as customers’ data or trade secrets.

Other sources of insider threats include employees who have access to company funds or equipment, or who have access to sensitive information that could be used to blackmail or influence others.

It is estimated that insider threat is responsible for 43% of data breaches and on average it cost organizations USD 15.4 million annually. In the UK, insider threat is responsible for 68% of legal data breaches and home working has driven 44% of insider threats.


Cryptojacking is a type of cybercrime practice that exploits a user’s computer resource to mine cryptocurrencies without their knowledge or consent. The crypto-jacking software can be installed on a user’s device without their knowledge or consent to mine cryptocurrencies.

It can also be done through the use of a web browser extension, a program that runs in the background of a user’s computer. Cryptojacking malware is becoming more prevalent. There has been a 230% growth in the number of malicious mining programs.


Deepfake is a type of cyber threat that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It involves the use of artificial intelligence to create convincing videos and images that appear to be real but are actually fabricated.

This technology can be used for malicious purposes such as spreading false information, manipulating public opinion, or even damaging reputations. Deepfakes pose a serious threat to individuals, organizations, and society as a whole.

Final words

With the proliferation of smartphones, laptops, and tablets in our daily lives, we are putting more and more of our information “in the cloud.” This growing trend makes it easier to share information but also accessible to cyberthreats.

With the Internet becoming more present and a target for cyberattacks, it’s incredibly important that people are aware of the dangers that lie ahead. Whether you are just surfing the Net at home or using your device in a coffee shop, you must keep yourself protected.

While you might think that cyber threats only include computers and other digital devices, the fact is that they can be just as damaging as a physical assault or theft. One thing is for sure, even if you aren’t using technology in your business or for day-to-day applications, you still need to protect yourself from cyberthreats.