Cyber crime

Cyber crime demonstrates how the internet is changing the face of crime across the globe with a substancial number of crimes now assessed to have a cyber or digital footprint. The criminal use of the Internet known as e-crime or cybercrime can be subdivided into two categories:-

  1. cyber dependant crime - where a criminal act can only be committed through the use of computers or other ICT devices. e.g. the theft of data from an organisation’s computers with the purpose of stealing sensitive data or the harvesting of online bank accounts. 
  2. cyber-enabled crimes - are traditional crimes such as fraud, theft, sexual or harrassment offences, the distribution of child pornography which can be increased in their scale or reach by the use of computers.
Many offences span both categories and many offences span multiple crime types and both categories. The types of cyber enabled crimes reported to the PSNI include:
  • Fraud Offences - such as online auction sites and shops, fraud websites and advance fee fraud,
  • Extortion - the most commonly reported have been ransomware against businesses, and personal extortion against individuals who have visited sex rooms,
  • Harassment, intimation, threats and cyberstalking - these usually relate to domestic incidents and ongoing disputes, but have also included intimidation of witnesses and predatory cyberstalking, 
  • incidents with a sexual element - including the grooming of young people and sharing of indecent images. It is also used to recruit and advertise victims of human trafficking for sexual purposes,
  • sourcing of illicit items online - including drugs being sourced from online suppliers overseas. Websites and social media sites are also used to advertise and sells counterfeit goods.
Cyber dependant crimes are less frequently reported to law enforcement, however increased industry engagement through the OCTF has led to a rise in reports from local businesses. For more information see the OCTF Annual Report 2017-18.  

Further Advice

For further advice on protecting yourself and your business from online crime check out the following websites:
In addition, CiSP provides a forum for cyber security discussion from beginner through to expert level. It's also a platform where organisations can share intelligence gathered from their own computer networks.