Computer crime refers to criminal activity involving a computer. The computer may be used in the commission of a crime or may be targeted. Net-crime refers to the criminal use of the Internet. Cybercrimes are essentially a combination of these two elements and can best be defined as “Crimes that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally damage the victim’s reputation or directly cause physical or mental harm to the victim” . or indirectly using modern telecommunications networks such as the Internet (chat rooms, emails, bulletin boards and groups) and mobile phones (SMS/MMS).” 
In its simplest form, cybercrime can be defined as any illegal activity that uses a computer as its primary means of operation. The US Department of Justice expands this definition to include any illegal activity that uses a computer for evidence storage. The term ‘cybercrime’ may refer to crimes including data criminal activity, content and copyright infringement, fraud, unauthorized access, child pornography, and cyberbullying.
The United Nations Manual of Prevention and Control of Computer Crimes includes fraud, forgery, and unauthorized access in its definition of cybercrime. Indeed, cybercrime covers a wide range of attacks against individuals and organizations alike. These crimes can include anything from the emotional or financial state of an individual to the security of a nation.
There are two main categories that define the composition of cyber crimes. First, those that target computer networks or devices such as viruses, malware, or denial of service attacks. The second category relates to crimes that are facilitated by computer networks or devices such as cyberbullying, fraud, identity theft, extortion, phishing (spam), and theft of classified information.
In order to highlight the scale of cybercrime globally, the Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 revealed that 431 million adults in 24 countries had been victims of cybercrime in that year. Computer crimes are increasing at an alarming rate. In the report, Norton put the financial cost of global cybercrime at $388 billion. This is more than the combined international market for marijuana, heroin, and cocaine, estimated at $288 billion. Assuming its current growth rate continues, cybercrime will soon overtake the entire global drug trafficking market, estimated at $411 billion annually.
Cybercrime has expanded to include activities that cross international borders and can now be considered a global epidemic. The international legal system ensures that cybercriminals are held accountable before the International Criminal Court. Law enforcement agencies face unique challenges, and the anonymity of the Internet only compounds the problems. There are problems with the collection of evidence, problems between jurisdictions, and miscommunication related to reporting.
It is well known that victims of Internet crime are often reluctant to report a crime to the authorities. In some cases, the individual or organization may not even be aware that a crime has been committed. Although the facilities for reporting cybercrime incidents have improved in recent years, many victims are reluctant primarily out of embarrassment.
International cooperation is essential if an effective response against global cybercrime is to be found. No nation can hope to effectively combat the problem on its own. Many cybercrimes are initiated ‘overseas’ and this presents enormous challenges to the law enforcement agencies of any nation. It is critical that agencies around the world formulate practical plans to detect, track, arrest, and prosecute cybercriminals.
For example, in the last two years Australia has adopted the National Criminal Intelligence Fusion Capability, a key element of the Commonwealth Organized Crime Strategic Framework (COCSF). This body brings together expertise, data, and technology across a variety of government and law enforcement agencies and enables international collaboration.
The cybercrime problem seems almost immeasurable in size. Looking at recent trends and advances in cloud computing and mobile technology, we realize that it is a dynamic that is constantly evolving and rapidly changing. There is growing evidence globally of newly formed partnerships between government and industry with the aim of prevention. These partnerships create opportunities to share information and strengthen police response to Internet-based organized crime.
This exchange of information creates concerns in itself. It is an extremely complex and sensitive subject. A balance must be found to efficiently maximize the distribution of information and protect it from the organized cybercriminal element.
Cyber crime covers such a wide scope of criminal enterprise. The examples mentioned above are just a few of the thousands of variants of illegal activities commonly classified as cybercrimes. Computers and the Internet have improved our lives in many ways, unfortunately criminals now make use of these technologies to the detriment of society.
 Halder, D. and Jaishankar, K. (2011) Cybercrime and the victimization of women: Laws, rights and regulations. Hershey PA, United States: IGI Global. ISBN: 978-1-60960-830-9