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Cybercrime is an ever-growing phenomenon, largely as a result of our increasing reliance on online services such as internet banking and social media. Criminals see these as attractive targets for their activities as they provide convenient ways to obtain and exploit sensitive information, disrupt business operations, and attack the integrity of public services such as healthcare facilities and schools.

While cybercriminals are able to hide their actions, their activity leaves clues behind that skilled trackers can follow. The nature of these trails is augmented by the ability to operate across borders and national jurisdictions, as well as by the ease with which information can be transmitted and shared between perpetrators.

Despite this, most legal systems have not yet developed specific laws that deal with cybercrime in their own right, relying instead on existing laws such as those covering fraud and forgery. The lack of specific legislation has also made it difficult for countries to develop a common definition of cybercrime that can be used to identify, deter and prosecute perpetrators.

As a result, there are numerous working definitions of cybercrime in use in academic and grey literature, but these often diverge due to different disciplinary schools of thought, theoretical standpoints and purposes (e.g., the use of left realist theories to explain crime and delinquency). In addition, many working definitions are domain specific, thereby limiting their utility as they are not cross-disciplinary in nature.

It is important for law enforcement to understand the different types of cybercrime in order to respond effectively. This can be done by identifying the key elements of each type and then looking at how they can be prevented, detected and investigated. It is also necessary to ensure that the law is kept up to date as new technologies are introduced and to create partnerships with industry, academia and law-enforcement to develop better ways of detecting cybercrime.