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What is Cyber Crime?

Posted by Sophie Ashwood | 09-Oct-2019 10:46:58

Cybercrime is "one of the fastest growing criminal activities across the world, and can affect both individuals and businesses," according to the Bedfordshire Police.

Defined as, “Criminal activities carried out by means of computers or the internet”, cybercrime is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of crimes that take place online. Crimes such as phishing, malware or hacking fall into the Cyber Dependent Crime category.

Cyber Dependent Crimes or 'pure cyber crimes' can only be committed using a computer, computer network or other type of IT. The main type of cyber dependant crime is:


Short for malicious software – it’s a generic term used to describe software that’s been designed to disrupt, damage and gain unauthorised access to your computer, server or network.

Forms of malware include:

  • Viruses – the most well-known form of malware. Viruses can range from minor inconveniences, such as slowing down your systems and showing multiple pop ups, to severe impact with destructive behaviour.

    Viruses require a host, such as a word or excel file, to act as a ‘carrier’ – however, viruses cannot infect a computer without human interaction to run and open the infected files. This is why you need to be cautious with unexpected emails and ensure you double check the sender/links before downloading attachments.

  • Worms – these are self-replicating programs that can spread freely within and between computers. They don’t need a host or human action and can cause more damage than viruses, often destroying whole networks.

  • Trojans – aka Trojan Horses are a form of malware that appear to be legitimate programs, but you won’t remember downloading them. Trojans can steal your data without your knowledge and can trick you by performing routine tasks, whilst undertaking hidden, unauthorised actions.

  • Spyware – “software that enables a user to obtain covert information about another’s computer activities by transmitting data covertly from their hard drive.” A popular version of spyware is key-logging software, which is used to capture your keystrokes as you use your computer, allowing the cybercriminal to gather your passwords, bank details and other private data.

  • Ransomware – “a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid”. Ransomware encrypts your files and locks you out of your computer, claiming you can get everything back once you pay the cybercriminal in bitcoin.

    People often ask, “isn’t ransomware just a virus?” And the honest answer is, no. Viruses infect your computer and files, whereas ransomware makes your files and computer unusable. Both types of malware can be removed with an antivirus, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll recover your encrypted files, which is why you should invest in cloud back up so you can recover quickly.

What motivates cyber dependent crimes?

The same reason behind most crimes – personal profit and financial gain. Yet, there can also be unconventional motivations such as vengeance of a previous employee, curiosity, general boredom or just to prove and gain respect from people in online communities.

In recent years, businesses have become a highly desired target in the realm of cybercrime as they’re more likely to pay-out for a ransom to get their files back.

With 43% of all data breaches in 2018 targeting SMBs, security should be one of the main focuses in your business, this includes training your staff on the importance of cybercrime and cyber awareness.

What can you do to protect against cybercrime?

1. Back up and Data Recovery
Implementing a robust and comprehensive disaster recovery plan is crucial in securing your data against potential attacks and even natural disasters. This should include Cloud Back Up, so your files can easily be restored, as well as a Continuity Plan, so you know what to do and how to get your business back without a long delay.

2. User Awareness Training
52% of businesses admit that employees are their biggest weakness in IT security - Human error causes vulnerabilities to businesses, such as not updating software, clicking on malicious links or downloading software with hidden malware. If your employees are properly trained on the warning signs of potential attacks, you can help them remain vigilant to the latest threats.

3. Penetration Testing
Evaluate your IT security with vulnerability scanning and penetration testing to discover if there are any areas that need to be improved so you can ensure your business is secure.

Using threat management services like antivirus and firewall software is a good first start, but in order to protect your business and ensure continuity, you need to have a back up and data recovery plan in place. This way, if your business is attacked with ransomware or another form of malware, you can recover quickly without prolonged downtime.

How can we help?

At Aztech, we offer Managed IT Security and Back Up & Disaster Recovery services to help you protect your business against cybercrime. We can work with you to create a bespoke disaster recovery plan that suits your business, giving you peace of mind that your data is secure in the cloud.

Our services are tailored to suit your business needs, so whether that’s training your staff on the importance of cyber security or relocating your workforce to a temporary work space if your site location goes down, we can help you safeguard your business.

Get in touch or call us on 01908 571 510 to speak with one of our specialists to find out more.

Cyber Security eBook

Topics: cybersecurity, cybercrime

Written by Sophie Ashwood

Marketing Executive at AZTech IT Solutions


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