What is Cybercrime?

The term cybercrime refers to a variety of crimes carried out online using the internet through computers, laptops, tablets, internet-enabled televisions, games consoles and smart phones.

There are two types of cybercrime:


Cyber-dependant crime

These can only be committed using computers, computer networks or other forms of ICT - stealing confidential information that’s stored online, for example.

Cyber - enabled crime

Other crimes which are carried out online, but could be committed without the use of the internet, such as sexual grooming, stalking or harassment, bullying, and financial or romance fraud, are called cyber-enabled crimes.

Examples of common Cyber-dependent crimes


  • Phishing: bogus emails asking for security information and personal details
  • Webcam manager: where criminals takeover your webcam
  • File hijacker: where criminals hijack files and hold them to ransom
  • Keylogging: where criminals record what you type on your keyboard
  • Screenshot manager: allows criminals to take screenshots of your computer screen
  • Ad clicker: allows a criminal to direct a victim’s computer to click a specific link


  • Hacking
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks

Protecting yourself from cybercrime

People who commit cybercrimes are often well organised and believable online. There are always new online scams being developed by fraudsters to try and trick you into giving them money or information so it is important to always be vigilant.  However, even the most careful people can be caught out so there is no need to feel embarrassment if you have been a victim.

There are practical tips that can help you avoid falling victim to cyber- dependant crime such as:

  • changing your password regularly and using different passwords for different sites
  • ensuring you have a firewall and antivirus protection on your computer
  • only using secure and trusted websites when shopping and researching companies and sellers before purchasing things such as holidays

Remember if it seems too good to be true, it may well be.  

Tips and advice are also available to help keep your children safe online, such as child safety features in your internet browser to help protect children from unsafe websites, as well as tips on staying safe when using internet dating and social networking.

You can access further practical advice and tips through Get Safe Online or CyberStreetwise.

Support for victims of cybercrime

If you have been a victim of cybercrime, you can report it to Action Fraud.  Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. 

You can also access support by contacting Victims First and this includes support for young people who may have been victims of online crime including grooming and exploitation.