Cyber crime

Whether you are an individual, a business or a charity, we can all rely upon computers and the internet. However, criminals also use the anonymity and size of the internet and computers to their advantage to further their criminal activities.

There are two different categories of cyber crime; cyber-dependent and cyber-enabled.

Cyber- dependent crimes are crimes that can only be committed using a form of information communications technology (ICT), such as a computer. These are crimes such as 'hacking' and spreading of malware (threats to your computer).

Cyber-enabled crimes are traditional crimes, such as fraud and stalking, but which are increased through the use of ICT. For example, harassment through social media and scam emails.

If you have experienced online bullying you can find more information here.

Cyber Fraud

It is estimated that at least 84% of fraud reported nationally is cyber-enabled. By using ICT, it allows criminals to target a much bigger audience.

If you have been a victim of a cyber scam or fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud. 

If you have been a victim of cyber stalking or other crime, the crime is in progress or it involves a vulnerable victim you should report directly to the police either by calling 101 or 999 (if it's an emergency).

The Little Book of Cyber Scams- This guide has been created by the Metropolitan Police Service to offer advice to individuals and small enterprises on how to stay safe in the cyber world.

You can also find more information around fraud on our fraud page here.

Below, you can find more detail and links to information about different types of cyber crime and how to help protect yourself. 

Cyber crime for businesses, organisations and charities

The National Cyber Security Centre has produced the following guides to help businesses, organisations and charities to help protect themselves from cyber crime.

Small Business Guide- With information around the most common cyber attacks, the advice in this guide will significantly increase your protection from the most common types of cyber- crime. You can see some of these tips in the infographic below.

Cyber Security Small Business Guide …

Small Charity Guide- Practical tips and guidance to help charities protect themselves from harm.

Cyber Security Toolkit for Boards- Cyber security is central to an organisations health and resilience and the Board of any organisation should take responsibility. This guide helps board members understand cyber security.

Phishing Attacks- Information on how organisations can help defend themselves against malicious emails. This guide will help enable those responsible for defences within an organisation, implement approaches to increase resilience against phishing.

Password Policies- A key to keeping yourself and your information private, is a good password. This leaflet provides advice in managing password policies within organisations to help keep your staff, and organisation safe.

Cyber stalking

Cyber stalking (or online enabled stalking) is a serious crime whereby the perpetrator exploits the internet or other electronic devices to harass, intimidate or frighten their victim with persistent and unwanted electronic communications or surveillance.

Connected technology has provided stalkers with a facility to continue their campaigns online with a certain degree of perceived anonymity. A readily accessible, very affordable and easily usable set of 'tools' are available to stalking perpetrators around the clock, including:
  • Hacking and tracking software
  • Vehicle or possession tracking devices


Social Media and Direct Messaging

Communications from perpetrators to their victims may include texts, emails, phone calls (including voicemail messages), social media posts and comments, or any other electronic means to send unwanted communications. When these communications display fixation and obsession, this may be considered cyberstalking.

It is not advisable to block any online communication channels between the victim and the stalker for the following reasons:
  • Any communications received can be used as evidence in a police investigation and subsequent charge
  • Blocking a perpetrator may increase the risk of them trying to seek the victim out in person
  • Blocking may also elevate the perpetrator's level of anger
  • Victims often feel better prepared knowing what their perpetrator is doing and where they are


Revenge Porn

Revenge porn is the term given to the sharing of private, sexual materials of another person without their consent with the intent of causing embarassment and distress. It is a criminal offence in itself, and covers all materials that any reasonable person would consider to be of a sexual nature. Though this is the case, perpetrators often threaten this kind of behaviour as a means to intimidate their victims into disengaging from the Police and other support services.

Support

Support and advice is available to you whether you report to the Police or not. There are specialist stalking and cyberstalking services that you can contact and get advice, information and support from. You may also be able to get your mobile devices checked by a qualified expert at an ethical IT intervention, where you can receive information and guidance on how to best secure yourself online. You can find details here.

The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit also has some additional advice and information which you may find helpful. You can view this here.


You can also find more information around stalking on our stalking page here.

Who can help me?