Cyber crime in Scotland: evidence review

A review of the evidence around the scale and nature of cyber crime affecting individuals and businesses in Scotland.

Cyber influence on crime: Summary of overall findings

Cyber-technology can impact on any type of crime. We conceptualise cyber-crime in terms of the method or locus of a crime, rather than it being a distinct type or group of crime.

From the available evidence, we know that:
Cyber-technology has had an impact on

  • The scale and nature of some types of sexual crimes in Scotland
  • The proportion of fraud conducted online. However still a lot of fraud is offline. As a whole, fraud is under-reported and mostly low impact
  • Computer misuse – now a commonly experienced crime. But it is under-reported and mostly low impact.

There has been less influence of cyber-technology on the following:

  • Cyber appears to have no real influence on the scale and nature of violent crime
  • Drugs are still mainly sourced via traditional means rather than online.
  • The internet features in cases of stalking and harassment but this is still more prevalent in-person than online.

Information of businesses’ experiences of cyber-crime is limited and fragmented, however most sources indicate that cyber-crime is an issue for them.

For example, the UK Cyber Breaches Survey, whilst not covering all sectors, estimates that between 2016 and 2017, 46% of responding business sectors experienced at least one cyber breach or attack.

(Cyber Breaches Survey, 2017.)

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