What is cybercrime?

LIFESTYLE | September 2018

Cybercrime – it’s a term that is thrown around a lot, but what exactly is cybercrime? Why is everyone talking about it and how does it affect you?

In a nutshell, cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, handheld device, or a network. Cybercrimes are sometimes carried out to generate a profit for cybercriminals, while other cybercrimes are carried out just to do damage and destroy data from your computer or mobile devices.

The explosion of the internet and use of computer and mobile devices has seen an increase in cybercrimes happening around the world. Internet speed, convenience, value and secrecy mean it’s now so much easier for cyber criminals to carry out cyber-attacks.

There are many different types of cybercrime - computer viruses, cyber bullying, cyberstalking, denial of service attacks, phishing scams, identity theft, malware and a lot more.

In New Zealand alone, 1.14 million people were affected by cybercrime in some way in 2017 according to the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report. So really, cybercrime doesn’t just happen to big corporates and businesses – it can happen to individuals and households too.

But it’s not just financial loss; cybercrime can affect us mentally and emotionally. People who have fallen victims to cybercrime can feel angry, violated, distrustful and helpless. Not only that, a lot of individuals feel responsible and blame themselves for being a victim of cybercrime. Imagine losing all the photos that you’ve taken over the years - 14% of people end up mourning the loss of their irreplaceable data or items, such as photo collections.

For nearly 28% of victims of cybercrime, time is the biggest impact it has on them. It can take up to four weeks to resolve an average cybercrime incident. In New Zealand specifically, the average time to resolve is around 28 days.

So next time you log into your computer, phone, and online accounts, check your security settings.

If you’ve been affected by a cybercrime, here’s what you can do: