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Cybercrime is a very broad term that covers anything that involves using computers to perpetrate illegal activity. This can range from sex trafficking to ransomware to attacking systems that can harm people physically, and cybercriminals have many tools at their disposal. They can exploit security weaknesses, hack into computers and smart devices to steal data or infect them with malware, and they can do all of this from a location that may not even be the same country as their victims.

This type of crime can be very costly to individuals, companies and nations. For example, a hacked company may lose customer trust, which can lead to a drop in stock price. And companies that fail to protect their customers’ data may be hit with heavy fines or penalties.

The threat of cybercrime is a global one, and there are various laws in place to deal with it. Legislation dealing with this can be all-encompassing, focusing on everything from cyberbullying to the theft of intellectual property, or it can be sector-specific. For example, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act focuses on financial institutions and requires them to have clear policies and procedures in place for protecting sensitive information from breaches.

Individuals can protect themselves against cybercrime by ensuring their antivirus software is updated regularly, backing up their hard drives and keeping strong passwords in place. They can also learn to recognise suspicious emails and websites, which can be a good defence against phishing and scams. And if they are the victim of a cyber attack, it’s worth reporting this to government officials. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Department of Justice can handle these types of complaints.