Cyber crime in Scotland: evidence review research findings

Summary findings from a review of the evidence around the scale and nature of cyber crime affecting individuals and businesses in Scotland.

What is cyber-crime?

Defining cyber-crime is complex and contentious and there is not an agreed upon definition [1] .The main debate centres around the extent to which the internet and cyber technologies need to be involved in order for the crime to be termed 'cyber-crime'. Views on this range from those who argue that cyber-crime is only the distinct set of activities which are committed by using a computer, computer networks or other forms of ICT ( e.g. spread of viruses, hacking etc.), to others who view cyber-crime as including even the most minor involvement in more traditional crime types ( e.g. using the internet to research how to commit or cover up a violent crime).

Given the remit of this review and the broader cyber-crime analytical work, it makes most sense to adopt a definition that considers criminal activity as cyber-crime if cyber-technology was in any way involved, regardless of the extent of involvement. This approach does not necessarily consider cyber-crime as a separate category of crime, instead it is defined by the method or locus of the crime. This is in line with the way in which Police Scotland conceptualise cyber-crime.


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