Computer Crimes

Cyber Crimes

Crimes such as fraud, scams, and harassment can be facilitated by using technology which brings unique challenges to old crimes.
Activities which fall under this category are often referred to as high tech crime, computer crimes or cyber crimes. Technology-enabled crime encompasses:
  • Crimes committed directly against computers and computer systems.
  • The use of technology to commit or facilitate the commission of traditional crimes
High tech crimes
High tech crime offences are defined in Commonwealth legislation within Part 10.7 – Computer Offences of the Criminal Code Act 1995 and include:
  • computer intrusions (for example, malicious hacking)
  • unauthorised modification of data, including destruction of data
  • distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks using botnets
  • the creation and distribution of malicious software (for example, viruses, worms, trojans).
Each State and Territory in Australia has its own legislated computer-related offences which are similar to the Commonwealth legislation.
Computer intrusion

Computer intrusion is any unauthorised access of a computer or network of computers.
This might take the form of hacking of free email services.

Only when the perpetrator resides in Australia or the computer server of the company that provides the free email service is located in Australia are Australian law enforcement officials able to act.

Unauthorised modification of data, including destruction of data
Denial-of-service is the deliberate disruption or impairment of a service or communication.
In general, for a matter to fall within the jurisdiction of Australian police, when an unauthorised system intrusion, disruption or impairment occurs:
  • the system or computer server where the content is hosted must be in Australia, or
  • the offender causing the intrusion, disruption or impairment must be an Australian citizen.
Internet Fraud and Scams
The term ‘online fraud’ refers to any type of fraud scheme that uses email, web sites, chat rooms or message boards to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims, to conduct fraudulent transactions or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to others connected with the scheme.
Online fraud is the jurisdiction of the state or territory police if the victim is a not a Commonwealth Government department or a Commonwealth Authority.
The Australian Federal Police investigates frauds committed against a Commonwealth Government department or a Commonwealth Authority.
In general, state or territory police jurisdiction exists:
  • in the state or territory where the offender has committed the crime, and
  • in the state or territory where the victim has been defrauded – this includes situations where the offender is located overseas.
Forms of online fraud
  • Internet banking fraud
    • Mobile banking
    • Phishing
    • Mule recruitment
  • Shopping and auction site fraud
  • Scams
  • Spam
  • Identity theft
Internet banking fraud

Internet banking fraud is fraud or theft committed using online technology to illegally remove money from, or transfer it to, a different bank account. Types of internet banking fraud include phishing and mule recruitment, and can happen through your smartphone, tablet and other mobile devices.


Phishing involves using a form of spam to fraudulently gain access to people’s internet banking details. The term ‘phishing’ refers to the use of spam e-mails purporting to be from a bank, in this way criminals ‘fish’ for legitimate bank customer’s logon information.

Typically, a phishing email will ask an internet banking customer to follow a link to a fake banking website and enter his or her personal banking details.

If the link is followed, the victim often also downloads a malicious program which captures his/her keyboard strokes including any typed information such as banking login details and sends them to a third party.As well as targeting internet banking customers, phishing emails may target online auction sites or other online payment facilities.

Identity theft

A large part of online crime is now centred on identity theft which is part of identity fraud and specifically refers to the theft and use of personal identifying information of an actual person, as opposed to the use of a fictitious identity. This can include the theft and use of identifying personal information of persons either living or dead.

Child Protection Cyber Crimes
These include:
  • Online child sex exploitation
  • Child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism
  • Offensive and prohibited internet content