Cybercrime is any criminal act wherein a computer, usually one that is connected to a network, is used to carry it on. It typically involves any unauthorized activity including access, interception, and manipulation of non-public data and systems. Among the commonly known activities related to it are hacking, copyright infringement, child pornography, releasing of viruses, and identity theft.
Lately, cybercrime has taken on a more sophisticated form - espionage in an organized and massive scale. Researchers from Canada recently uncovered a vast online spy network dubbed as GhostNet. The network is said to be breaking into government-owned systems in Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Germany, and many others.
Programs like these, which as are also known as malware, can be as passive as being able to simply send out information gathered from the infected system. But more advanced programs can be more manipulative. Once installed, they can allow the source of the malware to control the peripherals of the infected system.