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Cyber Crime

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What is Cyber Crime?

Cyber crime is an umbrella term used to describe two linked, but distinct ranges of criminal activity. 

The Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy defines these as:

Cyber dependent crimes – crimes that can be committed only through the use of Information and Communications Technology (‘ICT’) devices, where the devices are both the tool for committing the crime, and the target of the crime (e.g. developing and propagating malware for financial gain, hacking to steal, damage, distort or destroy data and/or network or activity).

Cyber enabled crimes – traditional crimes which can be increased in scale or reach by the use of computers, computer networks or other forms of ICT (such as cyber-enabled fraud and data theft).

Cyber crime is a global threat. Cyber criminals seek to exploit human or security vulnerabilities in order to steal passwords, data or money directly, on your home and mobile devices. According to the National Crime Agency, the most common cyber threats include:

  • Hacking – including of social media and email passwords
  • Phishing – bogus emails asking for security information and personal details
  • Malicious software – including ransomware through which criminals hijack files and hold them to ransom
  • Distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against websites – often accompanied by extortion.

Cyber Aware recommends that you improve your cyber security by taking six actions:

  • Use a strong and separate password for your email
  • Create strong passwords using 3 random words
  • Save your passwords in your browser
  • Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Update your devices
  • Back up your data.

You may wish to consider IT security on all mobile devices including mobile phones and tablets. See useful links and resources below for more tips.

Teenage cybercrime

  • National Cyber Security Centre

Professional skills and training 

  • National Crime Agency

The #CyberChoices campaign encourages parents of young people with cyber skills to talk to them about their ambitions and the opportunities to use their skills positively. 

#CCLevelUp: NCA Level Up campaign social toolkit

Useful Links

UK Government – National Cyber Security Strategy 2016 to 2021

Read the Strategy

For numerous resources to help stay safe online visit Cyber AwareGet Safe Online or the National Cyber Security Centre.

Cyber Aware

Get Safe Online

National Cyber Security Centre

Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

For further advice on how to stay safe online visit Cyber AwareGet Safe Online or the National Cyber Security Centre.

If you are a victim of cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.