Cybercrime

Wikipedia defines ‘Cybercrime’ (or Computer crime) as any crime that involves a computer and a network. (Source: Wikipedia) These days, ‘Computer’ can mean a desktop PC, laptop, tablet or Smartphone, and ‘Network’ can be either the Internet or the mobile telephone network.

There are essentially two forms of Cybercrime:

  1. Cyber-dependent crimes: These can only be committed using computers, computer networks or other forms of Information & Communication Technology (ICT). They include the creation and spread of malware for financial gain, hacking to steal important personal or industrial data and denial of service attacks (DoS). The malicious use of social media to carry out personal harassment and online bullying is a pernicious form of cybercrime. Even watching a pirate copy of a film online is a form of cybercrime, as it is depriving the legitimate film industry of revenue.
  2. Cyber-enabled crimes: These include fraud (cons and scams), the purchasing and distribution of illegal drugs and other restricted articles such as guns and knives, and child exploitation, and can be conducted on- or offline. Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (July 2016) estimate that nearly six million fraud and cyber crimes are committed a year, with one in 10 people falling victim to scams.
  • Fraud affects one in four small businesses, with fraud losses to businesses estimated at £18.9m nationally.
  • Statistics suggest that fraud is the most common type of crime – and around 70% of this is cyber-related.

    Simple steps to stay safe online
  • It is thought that around 80% of cases of internet fraud could be avoided if people took some simple steps to protect themselves while online.
  • Use a strong password to keep your details safe. This should contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Never give your personal banking details out online. Banks and companies will never ask for sensitive information via email or phone.
  • Make sure you are using up-to-date internet security, including on your mobile phone.
  • Ensure you have installed the latest operating system
  • Edit your privacy settings on social media and make sure only your friends can see your updates and information.

    This organisation has been set up by the Home Office in collaboration with HSBC, Microsoft and other partners to provide a wealth of information about staying safe online. Get Safe Online (https://www.getsafeonline.org/ )

    If we all follow the basic advice provided, we will reduce the risk of our falling victim to Cybercrime.

(Source: Thames Valley Police)

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