A cybercriminal is any person who carries out illegal activities on the internet. These “cyber crimes” involve information technology, both as a tool for the crime or as a target of said crimes. 

Some examples of cybercriminal activities are identity theft, data theft, the spread of malware, online scams, cybervandalism, and DDoS attacks.

While cybercriminal and hacker are often used interchangeably, the two are quite different. The former is, first and foremost, illegal, and the sole intent is committing crimes and lawbreaking. Hackers can be cybercriminals but some work for the right side of the law to help fight cybercrime.

  • Kevin Mitnick: In 1979, 16-year-old Kevin Mitnick gained unauthorized access to Digital Equipment Corporation’s computer and made copies of its software. Mitnick was tried, found guilty, and jailed for this cybercrime in 1988. After a relatively long stint as a career cybercriminal, Mitnick would go on to found his own cybersecurity consultancy company.
  • Albert Gonzalez: Throughout the 2000s, Gonzalez committed several cybercrimes from  “,” a criminal commerce site. A few examples of his crimes include debit card fraud to the tune of millions — not of dollars, but of bank accounts. He was finally arrested in 2008 and was sentenced to 20 years in 2010.