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The threats

The increasing use of technology and the Internet in all aspects of daily life puts everyday citizens at risk of becoming targets of cybercriminals.

As society comes to rely more and more on the Internet, the dangers posed by different types of cybercrime have become very real threats. These threats come in a variety of forms and target different features of the Internet, technological devices and their users.

Cyberthreats are constantly evolving and changing, therefore the types of threats outlined here should not be considered as an exhaustive or absolute list. See our advice on how to stay safe online.

In addition to the threats posed by cybercrime itself, cyber-enabled crimes such as financial crime, crimes against children and fraud also pose distinct threats to the public.

When you look up a word or phrase on an Internet search engine, it scans the Internet to find a match.

But there are large sections of the Internet which search engines cannot detect – this is known as the ‘deep web’. Whilst most of what exists in the deep web is not dangerous information, it can be deliberately misused by those with malicious intent. This hidden part of the Internet where criminals act undetected is called the ‘Darknet’.

By using specialized software to conceal their activities and guarantee anonymity, criminals can conduct illegal enterprises on the Darknet such as selling drugs or weapons, illicit gambling, and trading in counterfeit identity documents or child abuse material.

These underground criminal activities came to the public’s attention in 2013 when the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shut down the illicit online black market site Silk Road, which was operating in the Darknet.

The complex encryption and anonymization tools used to access and communicate over the Darknet create many challenges for law enforcement in identifying and locating the criminals who seek to hide in the anonymity it provides.