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Types of Software: Definition & Examples

While working on a computer, we come across various computer software which helps to ease our tasks and increase the overall efficiency of the work process. Anything from creating a simple document to surfing the Internet on a computer system is done using the software. 


In this digital or technological era, we are surrounded by different software, which is even increasing rapidly day by day. No matter what operating system or platform we use, we are leveraging software and making our lives easier. Without software, a computer is nothing but a set of different hardware components.

In this article, we are discussing the different types of software used on computer systems. However, they are quite similar to each other electronic devices. Before we discuss the software types, let us understand a quick introduction to computer software along with its definition:

What is Software?

By definition, “Software is defined as a collection of data, instructions, programs, and rules that instruct a computer system or other electronic device to work efficiently, perform, and carry out specific tasks.

In other words, software is a general term that refers to any application, program, or script running on computer devices to help them perform specific tasks or process them. It is considered to be the variable part of the computer system, while the other major part is the hardware which is the invariable part.

How does Software work?

Computer software is nothing but a separate term for the computer program, which means some specific set of instructions. Instructions are written in different languages that can be understood by the computer. Instructions (commonly called codes) help in giving instructions to the computer to work and feed data to do the work and satisfy the needs of the users.

The basic logic of all software is to take inputs, process them and provide output, i.e. Input > Process > Output. For example, consider clicking the Print button on a computer. The computer takes the document as an input, then asks users to adjust certain preferences. Thereafter, the given set of rules is processed and output is provided from the printer as a printed document on paper.


How many types of Software are there in computers?

There are different types of software based on their classification. However, if we broadly classify the types of software in a computer, there are two major types as listed below:

System Software
Application Software


Types of Software

These are the two primary types of software and all other types of software are served under them. Let us understand both system software and application software in detail with their types and examples:

What You Will Learn


System Software

System software is usually defined as a set of various programs or instructions that help to control or manage the hardware devices connected to the computer and other important resources of the system. Specifically, it helps in making the working of the computer efficient, enables faster performance in a secure manner. In addition, the system software also establishes a platform to run the application software.

System software allows users a variety of options to interact with basic settings and to give commands to the computer using a graphical user interface. Users can only interact with general system settings and services. In addition, the core services and programs of system software automatically work in the background to manage system processes and performance.


Characteristics of System Software

The following are the main characteristics or features of the system software:

System software is more closely related to system or hardware components rather than users.
System software is much faster in performance or processing.
System software is usually written or developed in a low-level language so that it can interact with machines at the maximum possible speed.
System software does not interact much with the users as compared to application software. They usually work in the background.
It is comparatively difficult to manipulate system software as it is complex to understand or design.

Types of System Software

Now, we already have an idea of what is system software and what are its features. Let us now understand the different types of system software and examples, which will help us to understand a little more about system software:

Types of System Software

Operating System: An operating system, commonly referred to as an OS, is one of the primary types or examples of system software. It consists of a set of software designed to handle computer resources and services and provides a platform for running other applications/software. 

Although each operating system operates on programming code and instructions, most operating systems include a GUI (Graphical User Interface) that helps users to interact with the OS easily without using coding directly.

Every electronic device, be it a desktop, laptop, or mobile phone, needs to have an operating system installed on it to function and provide basic functionality. The operating system is the first program that runs after the computer system is booted. The operating system takes control of the entire computer and efficiently manages all services and resources, such as CPU, memory, storage devices (HDD or SSD), printers, etc.

Some of the popular examples of Operating Systems are listed below:

MS-Windows
Android
macOS
iOS
Linux
Ubuntu
Unix
CentOS

Device Drivers: A device driver is specialized computer software primarily designed to control specific hardware of a computer system. Computers use different hardware devices, and each device requires a driver to function properly. 

The most common hardware devices that require device drivers are displays, graphic cards, sound cards, hard disks, printers, mouse, and keyboards. Users may need to manually install device drivers for some hardware devices, while for others, the operating system automatically installs a supported driver. There are two different types of device drivers, namely Kernel Device Drivers, and User Device Drivers.

Some of the popular examples of Device Drivers are listed below:

BIOS Driver
Motherboard Driver
Display Driver
Sound Card Driver
Graphics Card Driver
USB Driver
Printer Drivers
VIRTUAL Device Drivers
ROM Drivers


Firmware: Firmware is known as permanent software or instructions stored in the motherboard storage or ROM (read-only memory) of the computer system. However, it is not actually stored permanently as most current computer systems allow users to update the firmware using a firmware updater. 

Firmware Software, like other software, has a set of instructions. Unlike other software, the primary function of firmware is to check for errors, and ensure that all necessary hardware devices are working properly as soon as the user turns on the computer. If everything is working, the firmware wakes up the system and transfers control to the operating system. 

Some of the popular examples of Firmware are listed below:

BIOS
UEFI
Embedded Systems
Computer Peripherals
Computer Applications

Programming Language Translators: Specifically, system software helps convert high-level language code (human-readable language code) into simple machine-level code and vice-versa. This conversion is usually performed using programming language translators or processors. 

Programming language translators help convert computer programs written in high-level programming languages such as Java, C, C++, Python, etc. (also called source code) into instructions that can be interpreted by machines as object-level code or machine code. 

Despite simplifying the code, programming language translators also help to perform the following tasks: assigning data storage, obtaining diagnostic reports, obtaining source code and other details related to the program, identifying system errors during runtime, or rectify, etc.

Examples of programming language translators are listed below:

Interpreter
Compiler
Assembler


Utility: Utility tool or software is primarily developed to analyze, optimize, configure and maintain a computer system or its resources. This usually helps to support the computer infrastructure smoothly. Utility software monitors how the operating system is performing and then gives suggestions or makes changes automatically to improve the functioning and overall performance of the computer. 

Utility software includes various computer software categories, such as antivirus, disk clean-up, and management tools, performance optimizers, defragmenters, compression tools, etc.

Some of the popular examples of utility tools/software are listed below:

Windows File Explorer
WinRAR
WinZip
Avast Antivirus
McAfee Antivirus
Norton Antivirus 
Directory Opus
Piriform Defraggler
Piriform CCleaner
Razer Cortex

Application Software

Application software refers to a set of programs and instructions that help perform specific tasks, on a computer system. It is mainly designed to meet certain requirements of a particular environment. Application software can be downloaded and installed manually on the computer system and these software have nothing to do with the system core functions.


System software typically runs in the front-end, making it more accessible and intractable to users. It is important to note that application software cannot run on its own; they require the platform established by the system software. For example, any web browser software like Google Chrome requires an operating system to run. Unlike system software, application software is not mandatory for the system. However, they can help perform various tasks on the computer.

Characteristics of Application Software

The following are the main characteristics or features of the application software:

Application software is mainly developed or programmed to complete specific tasks on computers, such as image editing, word processing, gaming, etc.
Application software is mostly bigger in size and hence takes up more storage or space on the machines/systems.
Application software is typically written or developed in high-level languages.
Application software generally interacts more with users, helping them to use the software easily.
Application software is somewhat easier to design and develop than system software.

Types of Application Software

Now, we already have an idea of what is application software and what are its features. Let us now understand the different types of application software and examples, which will help us to understand a little more about application software:

Types of Application Software

Word Processors: Word processors or word processing software are primarily designed to create documentation on computers or other electronic devices. Additionally, word processor software also helps in managing, formatting, and printing documents. 

Some of the popular examples of Word Processors are listed below:

MS Word
Google Docs
OpenOffice Writer
Corel WordPerfect
AbiWord
Apple iWork- Pages

Database Software: Database software is useful computer software that mainly helps in creating and managing databases. It is also called DBMS (Database Management Software). Database software plays an important role when organizing data on a computer or server.

Some of the popular examples of Database software are listed below:

MS Access
MySQL
dBase
Clipper
FileMaker
FoxPro

Multimedia Software: As the name suggests, multimedia software is mainly used to perform tasks related to media files, such as audio or video files. It helps to play, create or modify media files. Multimedia software plays an important role in image editing, video editing, animation, and graphics-related tasks.

Some of the popular examples of Multimedia software are listed below:

Windows Media Player
Windows Movie Maker
VLC Media Player
Picasa
Adobe Photoshop
Media Monkey
Inkscape

Graphics Software: Graphics software is strictly designed keeping in mind the graphics-related tasks. It primarily helps users to design logos, edit images, and make other changes to visual data. Graphics software includes many built-in tools and features to make editing and illustration easier.


Some of the popular examples of Graphics software are listed below:

Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Indesign
CorelDRAW
GIMP
MS Paint
Blender
Autodesk Maya

Web Browsers: Web browsers are mainly used for searching the internet or browsing the internet. It is specialized computer software and helps users to find specific web addresses to retrieve data across the web. 

Most computers and electronic devices come preinstalled with a native web browser provided by the manufacturer. However, users can always install desired third-party web-browsers from the App Store using the Internet on their devices.

Some of the popular examples of Web Browsers are listed below:

Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Microsoft Edge
Internet Explorer
Opera
Safari

Education and Reference Software: These are computer software primarily designed to help users learn specific topics on specific subjects. A wide range of educational software is available on the internet and users can facilitate learning through them. This type of software is also known as Academic Software.

Educational software can be free-to-use or paid. Some of the popular examples of Educational or Reference software are listed below:

Delta Drawing
Polarr
GeoGebra
FluidMath
GCompris
Tux Paint
OneNote
Microsoft To-Do

Customized or Specific Purpose Software: Customized or specific purpose software is specialized computer software developed or programmed primarily to perform specific tasks/ functions or designed for specific organizations. All such software that fulfills specific purposes comes under application software.

Some of the popular specific purpose software are Railway Reservation System, Invoice Management System, Airline Reservation System, etc.

Classification of Computer Software

Apart from the classification mentioned above, there exists another popular classification of computer software. This classification is generally based on the availability and shareability of the software, which includes the following:

Freeware
Shareware
Open Source
Closed Source
Middleware

Classification of Software

Let us understand each in detail:

Freeware

Freeware is a type of computer software that is freely available on the Internet. Users do not need to pay anything to use the freeware. They can easily download the freeware from the official sites of their respective developer, and install it on the computer like any other normal software.

Apart from this, the freeware does not allow others to edit or modify the original software without the consent of their owner. Furthermore, no other person or website may charge for the distribution of the freeware. Some popular freeware examples are listed below:

Adobe Reader
Audacity
Team Viewer
Recuva
CCleaner
Skype
Yahoo Messenger
ImgBurn

Shareware

Shareware is a type of computer software that is freely available to be used and shared on a trial basis. This means shareware is provided to the users with a fixed time limit. Once the limit is reached, users will have to purchase the software or pay monthly to continue using the services. 

Shareware may offer all or a limited number of services before the time limit is reached. Similarly, some services or all services may be restricted once the limit is reached. Shareware usually allows users to test the software before purchasing it so that users can check whether the software is right for them or their business needs.

WinRAR is one of the most popular shareware software used on computer systems. Some other popular shareware examples are listed below:

Adobe Acrobat
Winzip
Getright
PHP Debugger

Open-Source

As the name suggests, open-source software is provided to the users with the source code in which the software is written. The source code is shared so that others can modify the code and add additional features in the software according to their needs. 

The main purpose of open-source software is to encourage developers to show their potential and creativity. Specifically, open-source means developing or modifying the code to make it even better for others. Open-source software can be distributed as free or chargeable by its owner. 

Linux OS is one of the most popular free-to-use open-source software. Some other essential open-source software examples are listed below:

Apache Web Server
Mozilla Firefox
Thunderbird
Moodle
GNU Compiler Collection

Closed-Source

Closed-source software (also called proprietary software) is a type of computer software that does not distribute source code or native code. No unauthorized moderation is allowed in closed source software. The source of closed-source software is kept completely private and encrypted.


Most of the software used on computers is closed-source and asks users to pay or purchase them. The developer/owner has all rights or registered patents on the source code of the closed source software. Generally, closed-source software are developed for commercial use; however, they can be both commercial and private.

Skype is one of the most popular closed-source software and typically charges high-volume users money. Some other essential closed-source software examples are listed below:

Google Earth
WinRAR
Adobe Flash
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Windows

Middleware

As the name suggests, middleware is a type of computer software that usually mediates between application and system software, or between two different application software. For instance, middleware helps Microsoft Windows interact with MS Word or MS Excel. 

Middleware can also help send remote work requests between two different computers, from an application with one specific OS to an application with a different OS. Also, middleware plays an important role in making new computer applications/programs work in old or legacy ones.

Some essential middleware software examples are listed below:

Integration
Transactions
Data Access
Application Framework
Device Middleware
Game Engines
Robot Middleware

Summary

As discussed above, the software is a set of programs used on computer devices that help the users to give commands to the computer as well as instruct the computer what to do. The two major types of software include system software and application software. System software is designed to manage system resources or operations, whereas application software helps to meet certain needs of users to perform specific tasks on a computer.


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Difference between DBMS and RDBMS

DBMS and RDBMS are both sets of computer programs that help store data in a structured format in a database. This ultimately makes it easier to store, manage and retrieve data efficiently. The database has so far proved to be an essential and integral part of the data collection system. Although they (DBMS and RDBMS) seem quite similar, there are significant differences between DBMS and RDBMS.

Difference between DBMS and RDBMS

Before discussing the difference between DBMS and RDBMS, let's take a quick overview of both:


What is DBMS?

DBMS (Database Management System) is a software technology solution that primarily helps to systematically store and manage information or data in a database. It also helps to create, define, modify and maintain databases, and provide controlled access to data. DBMS was first introduced in 1960 by Charles W. Bachman.

DBMS can also be used to manipulate data using features such as insertion, deletion, and updating. It acts as an interface between the database and the end-user and allows manipulating data in the database at the same time. DBMS technology is enabling businesses and individuals to work efficiently with databases and obtain the desired data effectively.

Advantages of DBMS

The following are some advantages of the DBMS:

DBMS supports single-user mode only for faster performance.
DBMS treats data as files internally.
DBMS can work even with low software and hardware support.
It is best suited for small businesses or individuals.

What is RDBMS?

RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) is not usually the opposite of DBMS. Instead, it is an extended version of the DBMS. This means that RDBMS is a more sophisticated version of DBMS and provides more functionality. Therefore, RDBMS allows businesses to use data more efficiently than DBMS. It was first introduced in 1970.


RDBMS is a software package with computer programs to help users create, update, and manage a relational database, which is distinguished by the structured data in logically independent table forms. It primarily sorts data into rows and columns, called tuples and tables. RDBMS is currently a powerful data management system that is in use worldwide.

Advantages of RDBMS

The following are some advantages of the RDBMS:

RDBMS provides support for multiple users.
RDBMS treats data as tables internally.
RDBMS requires high software and hardware to add optimum performance with more features.
It is best suited for large businesses and organizations.

Note: A database refers to an organized collection of data or structured information, which is stored electronically or digitally. Typically, databases use a structured query language (short for SQL) to write and query data.  

Difference between DBMS and RDBMS - DBMS Vs RDBMS


DBMS Vs RDBMS: Key Differences

Let’s discuss some major differences between DBMS and RDBMS:

DBMS stores data as files, whereas RDBMS stores the data in tables (tabular form).

The modification of data is a bit complex in RDBMS, whereas it is relatively easy in DBMS.

DBMS does not have any mechanism for sorting data. However, in RDBMS, there is a proper set of defined mechanisms for sorting the data.

DBMS allows one user to work on at a time, whereas multiple users can work in RDBMS at the same time.

DBMS is subject to deal with small amounts of data. Besides, RDBMS can handle unlimited data.

When it comes to fetching data for complex data, DBMS is slow. However, it is relatively fast in RDBMS. Since RDBMS can efficiently handle complex and large amounts of data, it is useful for a wider range of applications than DBMS.

The data redundancy is common in DBMS, which means the data can repeat in DBMS. Besides in RDBMS, there is no data redundancy because of keys and indexes.

DBMS is meant to manage databases in system hard-disks and networks. In contrast, RDBMS is meant to manage relationships between the tables and the corresponding data values in each table.


Difference Between DBMS and RDBMS

Let’s discuss the difference between DBMS and RDBMS with the help of the following comparison chart (in a tabular form):

DBMS RDBMS
It stands for ‘Database Management System’. It stands for ‘Relational Database Management System’.
DBMS technology stores the data in the form of files. RDBMS stores the data in the form of tables.
No relationship is formed between the data in DBMS. In RDBMS, the data is stored in multiple tables and therefore can relate to each other with foreign keys.
The data in DBMS is typically stored in navigational or hierarchical forms. In RDBMS, data is stored in a tabular form where the headers are column names, and the rows have corresponding data values. Any data can be easily accessed through the column name and row index.
DBMS allows managing the databases on the computer hard disks and computer networks. RDBMS allows maintaining the relationships among the tables in databases.
Data elements through DBMS can only be accessed individually at a time. In RDBMS, multiple data elements can be accessed at the same time.
DBMS provides support only for a single user at a time. RDBMS provides support for multiple users at a time.
Data in regular databases may not be stored following the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) model, which typically inconsistencies in databases. Although relational databases are harder to create, they are consistent, well-structured, and follow the ACID model.
In DBMS, Normalization is absent. In RDBMS, Normalization is present so that there is a proper structure of rows and columns in tables.
There is no support for the distributed databases in DBMS. RDBMS provides support for the distributed databases.
There is no support for client-server architecture in DBMS. RDBMS provides support for the client-server architecture.
DBMS is designed to handle small amounts of data. RDBMS is designed to deal with a vast amounts of data.
Data fetching for the complex and large amount of data is relatively slower in DBMS. Data fetching is quick in RDBMS due to the relational approach.
In DBMS, there is no support for the integrity constraints. In RDBMS, there is support for integrity constraints at the schema level.
Data Redundancy is quite common in DBMS. RDBMS utilizes keys and indexes in tables, which eliminates the Data Redundancy in this model.
Here, the data is subject to low-security levels when it comes to data manipulation. The data in RDBMS has multiple security levels during data manipulation. Also, log files are created at the OS level, command level, and object level as well.
DBMS can efficiently work with low software and hardware requirements. RDBMS requires higher software and hardware.
The examples of DBMS include XML, MS Access, file systems, Dbase, etc. The examples of RDBMS include MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc.


Summary

The comparison between DBMS and RDBMS simply makes it clear that the relational database management system is an improved version of DBMS and is more powerful. Although, both DBMS and RDBMS are used to store and manage data in databases, there are several notable differences between them. Moreover, RDBMS is the most widely used database management system in the present time.


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INTERNET Full Form - Interconnected Network

Nowadays millions of people, educational institutions, industries, and government organizations are connected to each other. INTERNET is the solution. It has enabled people to connect through electronic devices from all over the world. It would not be wrong to say that now we cannot imagine a world without the INTERNET. But the question that comes to the mind of many people is that 'what is the full form of INTERNET?'


In this article, we have discussed the word INTERNET along with some other details, such as the INTERNET full form, what is INTERNET, its history, working, uses, advantages, disadvantages, and more.

What You Will Learn


What is the full form of INTERNET?

The meaning or full form of INTERNET is the "Interconnected Network” of all the Web Servers Worldwide. In addition to this, the term INTERNET is also used as a short form of 'International Networking', which is basically an interconnected network. However, most people believe that the word Internet is not an acronym and is just a word that has its own meaning.

The term ‘Network’ specifies the connection established between two or more computers or electronic devices to exchange information or media files. Internet is currently the largest network in the world.

INTERNET Full Form

The full form of INTERNET can be explained as below:

Inter Interconnected
Net Network

Let us now understand what the INTERNET is:

What is an INTERNET?

The INTERNET is a connection of numerous networks on a very large scale. It helps to connect millions of electronic devices, websites, and servers. In other words, the connection between two or more electronic devices established using TCP/IP protocol (Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) to exchange information is called the INTERNET. 

The INTERNET is the largest network extended across the world. With the help of the INTERNET, users around the world can exchange text, images, videos, documents, and other files. It allows users to interact with friends, relatives, and others using it simply by sitting in front of their electronic devices. 

Note: Internet is also referred to as the WWW (World Wide Web) or simply the 'Web' in short. However, the two terms, INTERNET, and WWW are not the same.

Brief History of INTERNET

The Internet is established around the world using interconnected gateways and routers that are interconnected. It is not made by any one person. Instead, several innovations were made by different scientists. A technique for effectively transmitting electronic data was created by computer scientists with the concept of "packet switching", which later helped form the building blocks of the Internet.

In the late 1960s, the first viable early version of the Internet came with the creation of the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). ARPANET initially used "packet switching", funded by the US Department of Defence, to enable multiple computers on the same network to communicate. 


In 1969, ARPANET created a successful connection between the University of California Los Angeles and the Stanford Research Institute on the same network. Later in 1983, the TCP/IP were established, allowing network technology to mature, and from that time onwards researchers began to combine together a "network of networks" that became the modern Internet. The user-friendly internet interface was created in 1991.

How is an INTERNET formed?

The INTERNET is a typical connection of interconnected networks, which means the network of networks. It is usually formed using interconnected gateways and distinct routers connected together worldwide. This network consists of a huge number of private, public, and government organizations, schools and colleges, hospitals, research centers, and many other servers worldwide.

How does the INTERNET works?

The INTERNET is a worldwide network of computers and other electronic devices that transmit a variety of data and media files across interconnected devices. The INTERNET typically works via a packet routing network that follows Transport Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP).

When the data is transferred across the web, it is converted into messages and packets. Data sent over the Internet is known as a message. However, it is broken up into small parts, called packets, before it is sent over the Internet. The INTERNET is accessed using the web browser.

Popular Web Browsers 

Following is the list of the few most popular web browsers use worldwide:

Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Safari
Microsoft Edge
Opera

Most mobile devices come preinstalled with a stock web browser by the manufacturer. However, it usually supports minimal or basic features. Users can always install any of the above third-party web browsers on their devices accordingly.

Functioning Area for INTERNET

INTERNET was primarily designed to establish a secure connection in work environments such as offices or businesses. However, it became useful and expanded throughout the world in a very short time. Nowadays, almost everyone is benefitting from the INTERNET and it can be easily seen in almost every field, including homes, colleges, research institutions, hospitals, airports, or even in many remote areas.


The INTERNET has made communication between people so easier that they can connect from all around the world easily. It has changed the world. Some of the popular functioning areas of the INTERNET can be seen on apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

Interconnected Network

Common Uses of INTERNET

INTERNET has a wide range of applications/ uses. Some of the most common uses of INTERNET are listed below:

Online purchasing, payments, net banking, gaming, etc.

Communicating with friends or family over calls or video conferencing.

Sending and receiving emails, using social media platforms, sharing photos and videos with others.

Online blogging, broadcasting, studying, etc.

Accessing information on specific topics from millions of websites, which include the World Wide Web.

Advantages of INTERNET

Some essential advantages of the INTERNET are listed below:

The INTERNET provides knowledge or information on almost all topics with just a few clicks. 

Using the INTERNET, users from different areas of the world can communicate and even share files in a very less time.


With GPS navigation, the INTERNET allows users to use the map and locate nearly every place with ease.

The INTERNET has made banking a lot easier; users can easily transfer money, check their bank balance, make purchases, and send/ receive money quickly.

Disadvantages of INTERNET

Some essential disadvantages of the INTERNET are listed below:

People addicted to the INTERNET may face several health-related issues, not only to their fitness but also to their psychological state.

With the increasing use of the INTERNET, online frauds have also increased. Due to this, people end up losing their personal information and even money.

Users typically get addicted to online surfing, gaming, or other kinds of stuff on the INTERNET, spending less time with people in the real world. This usually decreases social interaction and face-to-face communication.

The INTERNET can display pornographic content or violent images/ ads to users even when they don't want to see them. Additionally, there can be spam and unnecessary advertising. 

INTERNET vs World Wide Web

The terms INTERNET and World Wide Web are two different terms with different meanings and working. The INTERNET is usually defined as a global system of interconnected computer networks. Besides, the World Wide Web is typically defined as a global collection of documents and other resources, connected by hyperlinks and URIs (Unified Resource Identifiers).

Using the INTERNET, we can access stored hypertexts and resources. For example, when we use emails or chats with someone online, we use the INTERNET. However, when we search for anything using the search engines like Google, we use the World Wide Web or Web.


Summary

INTERNET (stands for ‘Interconnected Network’) is a connection of a large number of networks. In particular, it is referred to as the network of networks. It has made a life lot easier in several aspects and also has some disadvantages. However, we cannot think of a world without the INTERNET now. 




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What is Cybercrime? - Definition & Examples

Internet usage has increased drastically in the last few years, and therefore Internet criminal activities are developing. Most people think that cybercrime is just a criminal activity in which hackers steal the user's financial information. But that is not the only thing. Cybercrime is constantly evolving with new threats coming up every year.
What is Cybercrime

In this article, we will understand what is cybercrime, the definition of cybercrime, the impact of cybercrime, how it works, etc. Let's discuss this:

What You Will Learn


Introduction to Cybercrime

Cybercrime is commonly called a computer-oriented criminal activity that either uses or targets a network, computer system, or network device. Most cybercriminals commit cybercrimes to make money by targeting individuals. However, some professional cybercriminals can threaten an organization by damaging or disabling the entire network. 

Apart from this, the cybercriminal can also use computers or networks to transfer viruses, malware, pornographic content, illegal information, etc. These activities are usually done to damage computers and their data, for reasons other than just a profit. 

Usually, a primary motive of cybercriminals is to generate profit for them. To do this, cybercriminals may commit a variety of profit-driven criminal activities, such as stealing and reselling identities, getting access to financial accounts, misusing credit card to get money or goods, performing email frauds, trafficking in pornography or intellectual property, accessing government data for theft and resale, etc. To be specific, cybercrime can range from security breaches to identity theft.


Cybercrime Definition

Cybercrime is a type of crime that involves a computer and a network to carry out illegal activities through digital means. This can be done by individuals or small groups of people with little technical knowledge, or by highly organized global criminal groups with relatively skilled developers and professionals.

Skilled cybercriminals use advanced tools and techniques to hide their identity and location. Additionally, some cybercriminal conducts cybercrime from countries where there are weak or no cybercrime laws. This helps in reducing the chances of detection and prosecution of cybercriminals.

Defining Cybercrime

The Department of Justice (DOJ) in the U.S. has divided cybercrime into the following three categories:

Crimes in which the computer acts as a weapon, i.e., performing DoS (denial-of-service) attack, etc.
Crimes in which computer is an accessory to a crime, i.e., storing illegally obtained data into the computer.
Crimes in which the computing device is the target, i.e., to get access to a computer or network.

These are the crimes that distinguish cybercrimes from traditional crimes. It only states that cybercrime is an attack on information about individuals, enterprises, or governments. These attacks occur on virtual bodies of individuals or enterprises (it is nothing but a set of informational attributes on the Internet).

In addition, the US has signed the European Convention of Cybercrime. Accordingly, anything including the following is considered cybercrime:

Selling illegal items online.
Illegal gambling.
Infringing copyright.
Illegally intercepting or stealing data.
Soliciting, producing, or processing child pornography.
Interfering with systems in a way that compromises a network.

Impact of Cybercrime

It is difficult to accurately assess the actual impact of cybercrime. The impact of cybercrime can be devastating due to the high risk of data loss and financial impact. The effects of cybercrime can be classified into the following three categories:


For Individuals

The impact of cybercrime can be mostly seen on individuals. There can be issues like data breaches, identity theft, or trafficking to malicious sites, etc. with the devices. Due to this, one may see suspicious charges on credit cards and loose access to their financial accounts. Additionally, cybercriminals may misuse data stored on devices for harassment and blackmailing.

For Businesses

Businesses may suffer from sensitive data loss, financial loss, or brand damage, etc. It can directly affect the value of a company, the share price, and can also cause loss of reputation, customers, etc.

If companies fail to protect customer data, they will also have to pay fines and penalties. In addition, a cybercriminal may secretly sell the company's sensitive data to other companies.

For Government

This is a very important offense when accessing government data for misuse. Cybercriminals use advanced tools and technologies to gain access to the government's highly sensitive data. The main purpose of targeting government data is to damage data or sell national security and defense data.

Cybercrime Example

The most common examples of Cybercrime include the followings:

Cybercrime Examples - What is Cybercrime

DDoS Attack

One of the most commonly seen examples of cybercrime is a distributed DoS attack. These attacks are mainly performed to shut down systems or networks.

Malware

Malware is used to infect systems or networks and harm users by damaging their software, data, or entire systems. Malware is often used to encrypt or shut down the targeted devices until a ransom is paid.

Phishing

Cybercriminals usually send fraudulent emails or messages to victims and redirect them to fake sites. The site can be an exact copy of any popular site and looks trustworthy. Because of this, users enter their personal information such as usernames, passwords, bank details, or other important data, without knowing that these details are directly reaching cybercriminals.

Credential Attack

A credential attack is the most common example of cybercrime, where a cybercriminal aims to steal information about a user's financial accounts. In most cases, this type of attack is carried out using brute-force by installing the Keylogger software, which secretly logs everything that the user enters via the keyboard.

Website Hijacking

Another common example of cybercrime is website hacking where cybercriminals try to gain access to the website and change or remove content without authorization. In order to perform this type of attack, cybercriminal usually inserts malicious code into a website using the SQL (Structured Query Language) injection method. 

How to know if I’m targeted by cybercrime?

It is not easy to find out if a person is targeted by cybercriminals or has been a victim of cybercrime. However, the following signs may be an indication that something is suspicious and may be the cause of cybercrime:


Malware infection: Computer or other devices may start running slowly even when there is no heavy applications are running. Additionally, several error messages may occur on the screen.

Keylogger: There can be various suspicious icons on your machine. Also, there can be duplicate text issue with whatever you type or paste using the machine.

Botnet: The computer may take a long time to shut down or not shut down properly. In addition, there can be several other activities such as programs running slowly, unable to download windows and antivirus updates, fan running so fast even in the ideal state, etc. It is very difficult to detect if your machine is infected with a botnet.

Phishing or pharming attack: You may see an unknown or suspicious deduction on your credit card or other compromised accounts.

Cryptojacking: You will notice a decrease in performance even performing very basic tasks on the computer. Also, there can be a hike in electric bills due to heavy resource consumption.

Conclusion

If sudden unexpected activities are happening on your computer, tablet, mobile, or any other network device then there may be a reason for cybercriminals activities. Therefore, if your device behaves strangely and sounds suspicious, then advice should be taken from cyber experts. If you have been targeted by cybercrime, it is better to disconnect the device from the network and take some time to report cybercrime using another secure device.


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