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Getting infected by malware is easy, but staying safe online requires more than just using antivirus software. Rather, you need to be careful about what you click on and who you give your personal information to. Never open an attachment or link from a source that you do not recognize and stay away from suspicious websites or social media platforms.

Increasingly, criminals are taking advantage of the Internet to steal personal information, hack into computers and systems, or infect devices with malicious software (malware). They use the Internet to organize their attacks and share strategies and tools with other hackers and cybercriminals who work together and operate in global crime communities. The IC3 works with international partners like Interpol and Europol to investigate these crimes and bring those responsible to justice.

Cybercrime is different from traditional criminal activities because it can be committed by anyone who has access to the Internet and a computer. It is also much harder to detect and prosecute because of the Internet’s speed, anonymity and lack of geographic boundaries. Despite this, cybercriminals are leaving clues behind — such as the IP address of the device used to commit an attack or the names of victims and targets in a ransomware attack — that can be followed by skilled investigators.

Battling cyber crime is a team effort involving federal and state agencies, industry bodies, trade organizations, and security providers. It involves a mix of civil and criminal penalties to deter the behavior. Ultimately, it is a fight for our digital world that requires the support of all citizens.