Computer Crime

A broad definition

Any illegal act for which knowledge of computer technology is used to commit the offense. (US DOJ, 1989) Note that there are many narrower definitions of specific types and varieties of computer crime under numerous statutes and case law.

Elements of computer fraud

    1. knowingly access or otherwise use a computer
    2. without authorization or exceeding authorization
    3. with intent to commit a fraudulent act or other criminal act

Computer crime

    1. computer fraud
    2. computer-assisted crime
    3. information crime

Computers and crime

    1. Computer as object – computers and network systems themselves as the object or target of crime. For example, physical theft, damage, destruction of information.
    2. Computer as subject – the computer is the environment within which the crime is committed. For example, virus attacks.
    3. Computer as tool – computers used as the means to commit a crime. For example, embezzlement, theft of information, hacking.
    4. Computer as symbol – computers used to lend frauds credibility. For example, elaborately computerized investment schemes.


Source: Fundamentals of Computer Fraud. (1999). Austin, TX: Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Copyright 2000 Raymond S. Kulzick. All rights reserved. 000613.

This publication provides business, financial planning, and/or tax information to our clients. All material is for general information only and should not be acted upon without seeking appropriate professional assistance.


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Copyright 2000 Kulzick Associates, PA - Last modified: September 13, 2008