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Cybercrime is criminal activity that uses computers or the Internet to commit crimes like fraud, money laundering and sabotage. It also involves activities that exploit people’s vulnerabilities to steal or damage information, such as hacking into their accounts and emails or installing malware in their devices. Cybercriminals can operate as individuals or as part of organized crime groups. They are driven by a variety of motivations, including power reassurance, ego-gratification, retaliation and anger, insecurity, greed and sadness.

The Internet’s speed, convenience and anonymity make it easier for criminals to carry out a wide range of cybercrimes. The global nature of the Internet means that actions can take place in different states and countries, making it difficult for law enforcement to track down perpetrators. Criminals can also hide their tracks more easily through cyberspace, a planet-spanning network that offers multiple hiding places and makes it hard to tell where the action is taking place.

UNODC’s work on fighting cybercrime focuses on four key areas: policy/strategy, techniques, investigation/evidence and international cooperation. In the area of policy/strategy, UNODC works with governments to promote long-term capacity building in the fight against cybercrime.

In the area of technique, UNODC helps police forces and other criminal justice systems develop the skills and knowledge they need to detect and prosecute cybercrime. This includes teaching detectives and other investigators how to use computer forensics tools. It also helps them develop ways to gather evidence from electronic crime scenes and digital communications.