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What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime is simply criminal activity involving computers, computer networks, or networked devices. Cybercrime is perpetrated by cybercriminals — people using information technologies (IT) outside the law.

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What are the different types of cybercrime?

Cybercrimes can be broken down into two groups: cyber-dependent crimes (which would not be possible without IT) and cyber-enabled crimes (which merely benefit from IT). The following list is not exhaustive — new forms of cybercrime are uncovered every day.

Cyber-enabled crimes

Phishing

Phishing is a social engineering technique used to trick victims out of money or sensitive information by pretending to be someone they trust.

Identity theft

Criminals can use information obtained from a data breach, darknet markets, or phishing to impersonate the victim for fraud and other crimes.

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalkers can follow and bully their victim on social media. In extreme cases, they may even hack the victim’s device or account.

Cyberespionage

In the modern world, spies and government-sanctioned cybercriminals can use a variety of unlawful IT techniques to steal state secrets.

Cyber-dependent crimes

Hacking

Hackers can exploit security vulnerabilities in computer systems to steal data and infiltrate networks.

Malware

Viruses and other forms of malware are hidden in files or scripts to secretly infect the victim’s device and let the hacker gain access to their files.

Ransomware

Ransomware attacks target high-profile victims, locking them out of their data until they agree to pay a ransom.

Distribution of illegal content

In many jurisdictions, it is illegal to share digital files of child pornography, copyrighted material, or other types of content designated by the law.

How often does cybercrime happen?

You may think you are safe online, but cybercrime statistics prove otherwise. Cybercriminals execute over 2,200 life-changing cyberattacks every day.

75/s

75 data records are stolen every second.

39s

A hacker attack occurs every 39 seconds.

20%

1 in 5 people claim to have been a victim of cybercrime.

We think it won’t happen to us — until it does. Cybercrime is a global problem that affects our everyday life.

Real-life cybercrime stories

Cybercrime affects everyone — including people like you. We asked our users, “Have you been a victim of cybercrime?” And this is what they told us.

money transfer hook hacking sm

Age 36 · Germany · specialist

Taras Y.

Money was transferred further quickly abroad with no trace. Police couldn’t help me in any way.

Read their story
credit card number catched hack sm

Age 48 · USA · specialist

Michael S.

I felt sick. I had just given criminals my credit card number, my passwords, my bank account info…

Read their story
mail spam exlamation mark sm

Age 30 · Japan · teacher

Sarah R.

…They began spamming my mailing list and making purchases using my credit information.

Read their story
scissors files cut stolen sm

Age 64 · USA · retired

Marty

He took 95% of my files, pictures, documents, 8 years of memories of my 4 grandchildren.

Read their story
piggy bank broken money stolen sm

Age 65 · USA · retired

Courtney L.

I checked my bank accounts early one morning and couldn’t believe I was $7,400 in debt on my credit card.

Read their story
eye magnifying glass stalking sm

Age 67 · USA · retired

Barbara

We were told that this person had hacked our email & could see everything we did online…

Read their story
passwords hacked exclamation mark sm

Age 42 · Finland · specialist

Alessandro B.

Do NOT use the same password for all your accounts, no matter how easy it seems.

Read their story
unlocked lock danger hacked sm

Age 42 · USA · managing director

Jeffrey J.

I downloaded a keylogger and they hacked my WoW account, selling all my goods and draining my account.

Read their story
email attachments hack cybercrime sm

Age 43 · USA · business owner

Vasileios K.

Never open up any attachments or links from emails that do not appear legitimate.

Read their story
card broken steal attack sm

Age 29 · USA · student

Sherjeel K.

I found out that both of those cards had been used for various purchases around the country.

Read their story
bank account stealing sm

Age 25 · Australia · specialist

Alexei M.

About half a year ago I noticed that there were weird purchases from my bank account.

Read their story
v bucks coins threat sm

Age 22 · Norway · manual worker

Tina

I could have found myself in debt due to some person really wanting some Fortnite V-bucks.

Read their story
card leaking money sm

Age 32 · Canada · team lead

Mark A.

Before moving to Canada, about eight years ago, I was the victim of a credit card hack in the UK.

Read their story
password same hook sm

Age 26 · Netherlands · specialist

Thijs

My password was on the internet in plain text, together with my email address.

Read their story
binoculars eye stalk sm

Age 18 · UK · student

Alex

It’s quite an anxiety-provoking having someone stalk you for such a long time.

Read their story
money fly wings stealing sm

Age 32 · USA · specialist

Birdie H.

It started with an alert from my bank for a $1000 charge I had not made.

Read their story
smart phone messaga sm

Age 24 · USA · specialist

Samuel P.

A man claimed that he had gained access to my email address, and through that, my device.

Read their story
trash card money documents sm

Age 71 · Canada · business owner

Mike F.

I immediately deleted the affected records and equipped all of my computers with ransomware protection.

Read their story

How to prevent cybercrime

Cybercriminals can attack from many angles, so cybercrime prevention requires a well-rounded approach. Follow these tips to stay one step ahead of cybercrime and avoid financial losses.

Cybercrime prevention tactics

Online security measures

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    Encrypt your online traffic using a virtual private network (VPN) to protect sensitive data from cybercriminals spying on your connection.
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    Use strong, unique passwords for your accounts — or get yourself a trusted password manager like NordPass.
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    Avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments. Always double-check where the link leads and who sent the file.

Personal devices

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    Use an up-to-date reputable antivirus to prevent criminal activity involving viruses and other malicious software.
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    Keep your devices and apps updated with the latest security patches to close off known exploits.
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    Keep system backups and store important data in a secure location to protect yourself against ransomware attacks.

Organizations

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    Educate your network users about cybercrime risks (such as social engineering tactics) and train them how to respond to incidents.
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    Use a firewall to limit what traffic can enter and leave your network to prevent unauthorized access.
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    Monitor the state of your network for irregularities that will alert you to a cyberattack in progress.
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    Familiarize yourself with cybercrime legislation and guidelines to make sure your organization is fully compliant.
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What to do if you become a victim of cybercrime

Immediate steps

Disconnect your device

If your computer or mobile device has become infected as part of a cybercrime, taking it offline will stop cybercriminals from sending remote instructions to the malware.

Review account activity

Check all important accounts for suspicious activity (such as password change requests or new subscriptions) to determine which ones have been compromised by the cybercriminals.

Notify financial institutions

If you suspect that your bank account or credit card have been compromised, immediately contact the issuing institution to block recent transactions.

Change your passwords

Change passwords for all important accounts to stop the cyberattack from spreading further. If possible, set up two-factor authentication and start using a reliable password manager.

Scan for malware

Use an antivirus and other anti-malware protection tools to detect and cleanse infected files. The longer malware is allowed to operate, the more damage it can do.

Further steps

Document the details

Note the date, time, and other information about the cybercrime. The details will help you report it to the police and understand how to prevent such incidents in the future.

Report cybercrime

Once you’re out of immediate danger, notify the authorities. You can report cybercrime to the local police or contact dedicated cybercrime prevention organizations in your country.

Notify your employer

Cybercriminals can steal data from you to attack your employer. Tell your employer about the incident to warn them against attacks targeting their corporate data.

Get professional help

Show the compromised device to an IT professional or your company’s IT department. They may be able to help you recover the data and functions you lost as a result of the criminal activity.

Learn from the experience

Review the details of the cybercrime and work to protect yourself against these types of attacks in the future. Don’t be ashamed to share your story with others and ask for help.

Take the first step towards protecting yourself from cybercrime

Frequently asked questions

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