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Cyber Crime

Answers to questions on cyber crime.

What is cyber crime?

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Cyber crime is broken down by the Home Office into two forms: ‘pure cyber crime’ and ‘cyber enabled’.

Pure cyber crime: These are crimes where a digital system is targeted by means of a criminal attack. These attacks are designed to disrupt IT infrastructure, remove data and/or compromise the integrity of data. An example of this could be having your Facebook or online banking account hacked for malicious means.

Cyber enabled: Existing crimes are perpetrated through the use of the internet. An example of this could be someone being emailed a cyber scam asking for money.

How can I report a cyber crime?

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In the first instance, fraud should be reported to ‘Action Fraud’ by calling 0300 123 2040. If online, the contact is www.actionfraud.police.uk

I’m a victim of cyber crime, where do I go to for help?

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The above hyperlink for ‘Action Fraud’ takes you to the national site for reporting on-line fraud. The site also contains some very useful information on identifying some common tricks used by fraudsters and good advice on being safe on-line.

I’m concerned about someone who may be a victim of cyber fraud. What can I do to help them?

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The best advice you can give is to ask them to make contact with the ‘Action Fraud’ site themselves as they will be most familiar with communicating the circumstances giving rise to their concerns. You can offer support, by being present if possible when the contact is first made.

I’d don’t really know much about cyber security etc. What can I do to protect myself, my family etc.?

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There are several, easy steps that you can take to protect your online security – be it protecting hardware, like a laptop, iPad, smart phone etc., or online applications, like Facebook, Twitter, online banking or your email. We have created a handy document for you to take a look at which covers everything that you’ll need to know.

What is the dark net/TOR network?

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The TOR ('The Onion Router') network, aka 'dark net', is a means of accessing the internet whilst maintaining anonymity. This is often used by cyber criminals to hide their criminality. You can learn more about the TOR network by reading this BBC article.

Cyber crime

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Protect yourself against cyber crime

'Cyber crime’ is a term used to define any crime that takes place online or where a where a digital system is targeted by means of a criminal attack.

Nottinghamshire Police takes cyber criminality very seriously, with cyber enabled crime being one of our strategic priorities. We are engaged in training our staff to enable them to offer the best and most up to date advice regarding fraud crime prevention and have a range of dedicated resources to assist with investigating on-line criminality.

Victims of cyber crime can be a single person, a group of people or an organisation. Some examples of cyber crime are:

  • Having your Facebook account hacked into and taken over. 
  • Being bullied online (often referred to as ‘cyber bullying’).
  • Someone hacking into your smartphone via a public wifi spot and gaining access to your contacts, messages, any apps that you may have downloaded etc. 
  • Someone gaining access to your online banking to make payments, transfer money, get your bank details etc.This may also come under Fraud - see our dedicated Fraud Prevention and Advice pages.
  • A person or criminal group pretending to be someone they are not whilst online dating or talking to people online, to extract money from a victim.

Bank account fraud

UK internet users are being warned by the National Crime Agency (NCA) to protect themselves against a significant strain of malicious software (malware) which has enabled criminals to steal millions of pounds from UK bank accounts. Free detection and removal tools can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.Dridex, as the malware is known (also called Bugat or Cridex), has been developed by sophisticated cybercriminals in Eastern Europe to harvest online banking details, which are then exploited to steal money from individuals and businesses around the world. Global financial institutions and a variety of different payment systems have been particularly targeted, with UK losses estimated at £20 million.

The NCA is encouraging all internet users to ensure their operating systems and software programs are kept up to date, and antivirus software installed on their devices, as well as downloading a free tool to detect and remove the malware, from any of the suppliers listed here.

The Sinister Path of Scam Email

The National Trading Standards Scams Team have produced an 'infographic' explaining the typical journey of scam mail.Use the link here to view the PDF document.As you will see, the path is not as direct as most of us imagine.

Explicit images and children

The NSPCC has launched its Share Aware campaign to get families in Nottinghamshire talking about socialising safely online. The campaign is aimed at parents of 8 to 12-year-old children and also features two animations. I Saw Your Willy and Lucy And The Boy are engaging films with a serious message that follow the stories of two children who share too much about themselves online. Both films contain the simple message that although children are taught that it’s good to share, this is not always the case online.

People can find out more about the NSPCC campaign here and join the debate on social media by following #ShareAware.

Data breach

Please be vigilant around your personal details after reported data breaches at Talk Talk and Carphone Warehouse. The breaches happened a number of months ago but scammers are still using the stolen data to contact people by telephone.Typically the scam involves a team of connected individuals contacting you on your landline, pretending to be from the relevant company ie Talk Talk.  They are able to use your name and give you your details and account number so you believe they are genuine. The background sound is a call centre and it all seems legitimate.

Typically they will tell you that there are security or reception issues with your internet router and offer to fix this by running something on your computer.  If you follow these steps you are actually granting them remote access to your computer so the can monitor what you are typing and viewing.  After appearing to rectify these issues they will offer to send an engineer out to replace your router, and then offer a refund of around £200 to you for the inconvenience.  Because no mention has been made of money or banking until so far into the call, again they are gaining your trust. They will then say that the refund needs paying by online banking and will tell you that “the system” will generate a code that they need in order to book an engineer. They will encourage you to log in, but remember they can see what is on our screen by now. Under no circumstances should you EVER hand out the code.

This is actually a One Time code issued by your bank, and only ever to you directly (usually by text).  If you pass this code to anybody, it will invalidate your fraud protection from the bank. Once the scammers have got this code from you, they have full access to transfer a payment out of your bank account, usually titled “bill payment”. Your bank will not reimburse you if you have permitted it by handing over the code. Our advice is NEVER accept a ‘cold call’ like this.  Genuine companies will not conduct business in this manner.  NEVER hand out any kind of banking code to a third party.  If in any doubt, hang up and ring the company on their main phone number.

Useful links and FAQs

Read our Cyber Crime FAQs here.

There are many national initiatives which provide you with advice and guidance, some of which are listed below. Don’t forget that Nottinghamshire Police has a Crime Prevention Unit, who can help you with all crime-prevention related matters, including cyber crime.

  • Don't become prey for a fraudster: Download our PDF document with information on how to protect yourself.
  • Action Fraud: Contains a wealth of information about cyber fraud, with a means to report a crime directly to them. Their news feed is particularly good for keeping up to date with current threats and trends.
  • Beware what you share: A useful guide about sharing information on social media. Produced by CIFAS.
  • Cyber Security Toolkit for retailers which offers advice on how to tackle cyber security.
  • Cyber security Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP): The Cyber-security Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP) is a joint industry and government scheme based in CERT-UK. CiSP is an online social networking tool and enables its members to exchange information on threats and vulnerabilities as they occur in real time.The CiSP is a tool for every kind of organisation within the UK, regardless of their cyber maturity or location.
  • Cyber Streetwise: An easy-to-use website which outlines how businesses and individuals can keep themselves safe from cyber crime. Everything from online shopping to what kind of software to install on your devices is covered.
  • Cyber Security Guidance for Businesses: Get information on how to protect your business with the Cyber Essentials Scheme.
  • CEOP: The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) website focuses on issues around protecting children online. The website is aimed towards 5-16 year olds and also carers, parents and teachers.
  • Northamptonshire Business Resilience Forum: A website containing information on the latest cyber business awareness conference.
  • Get safe online: An extensive website covering all aspects of cyber crime, including latest news and advice for parents and those with businesses.
  • Hate Crime: Nottinghamshire Police guidance on what to do if you are a victim of Hate Crime online
  • Cyber Essentials: A government-backed, industry supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber attacks.
  • Internet Watch Foundation: A UK hotline for reporting criminal online content such as child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world, criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK and non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK. Reports are confidential and can be made anonymously.

Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. 

Tel: 0300 123 2040

Fearless is a site where you can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality.


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