Cyber crime

The Regional Cyber Crime Unit investigate cyber dependent crimes affecting organisations across the South West. We also help organisations become more cyber resilient through guidance and workshops, and deter people from engaging in cyber crime.

Are you a victim of cyber crime?

If you’re concerned that you have become a victim of a cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via their website below.

What is cyber crime?

Network of computers being compromised

Dependent vs. Enabled

Law enforcement splits cyber crime into two categories – cyber dependent and cyber enabled.

Cyber enabled crimes are traditional crimes which can be increased in their reach by using computers e.g. online fraud or sextortion.

Cyber dependent crimes are those offences which can only be committed using a computer or network. These are the crimes that we deal with – examples include:

> Gaining unauthorised access into someone’s computer network
> Stealing, modifying or deleting information
> Attacking an online service to make it unavailable (also known as ‘Denial of Service’ (DoS) attack.
> Creating, supplying or obtaining malicious software or ‘malware’.

How does cyber crime affect South West organisations?

Reported figures don’t tell the whole story

Last year, NFIB reports indicated that between April 2020 – April 2021, organisations in the South West lost £696.4K to cyber incidents. However, in reality this is nowhere near the true impact.

It’s estimated that only 6% of cyber crime is reported to law enforcement, making it one of the most underreported crime types in the UK. Couple this with the difficulty in quantifying the losses from a cyber incident (e.g. loss to productivity, potential fines, recovery costs) and it becomes very difficult to get a true idea of how exactly organisations are being affected.

Percentage of organisations that have identified breaches or attacks in the last 12 months

What we do know

According to the Cyber Breaches Survey 2021 (DCMS), four in ten businesses, and a quarter of charities report having cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months.

From these companies, around a quarter are experiencing these issues at least once a week.

Why is this important?

When organisations fall victim to cyber attacks, there can be considerable financial implications, but it’s more than just money at stake.

We’ve seen people suffer damage to their reputation.

We’ve seen people forced to deal with heavy emotional strain.

We’ve seen people lose their livelihoods.

Behind the figures, the effects of cyber crime often go unseen, especially to those who are responsible for committing offences.

Please, if you have fallen victim to a cyber crime, it’s important to report it to Action Fraud.

It’s also vital to make sure that you know how to stay protected by using the resources mentioned on this site, and by sharing the advice with others.

Image showing how organisations can be attacked, for example through phishing and weak passwords.

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Your local cyber crime unit

Each of the five police forces in the South West has a cyber crime unit who we work with to protect you. Force cyber crime units are responsible for investigating cyber dependent and cyber enabled crimes affecting organisations and individuals.

To find out more about your local force’s cyber crime unit, please visit their respective websites.