Suspected cases of online crime rose to a record high in Switzerland last year, new figures show. What’s more, for the first time more cases were reported for economic crimes than for illegal pornography, according to the police unit in charge.
The Swiss Coordination Unit for Cybercrime Control (CYCO) at the Federal Office of Police received a total of 8,241 online complaints from the public in 2012 concerning suspicious internet content. This represents an increase of 55 per cent over the previous year.
The online complaints related to a variety of topics. More than 80 per cent (6,639) concerned criminally relevant matters. The offences reported primarily concerned child pornography, fraud, phishing, spam or damage to data.
In the past few years, the number of complaints concerning property offences has been steadily rising. For the first time since it began its work, CYCO received more complaints concerning this category (3,260 reports) than concerning sexual offences (3,083 reports).
Property offences were headed by the subcategory fraud, with a total of 1,770 complaints. Most of the complaints in this subcategory related to fraudulent offers in classified advertisements or via online auction platforms, where victims had been tricked into making advance payments for goods or services that they ultimately never received.
Eight per cent of the reports submitted to CYCO in 2012 concerned phishing attacks –attempts to access sensitive data by means of emails or telephone calls. The data sought included credit card numbers, bank account numbers, access data to email accounts and e-banking information.
The proportion of complaints concerning sexual offenceswas again slightly higher in 2012 than in 2011.
Most of the complaints in this category concerned the distribution of child pornography via websites registered outside Switzerland. CYCO reported the incriminating websites to the competent – mostly foreign – prosecuting authorities with a request to delete the appropriate Web pages.
CYCO also received more than 300 complaints concerning pornographic websites that were insufficiently protected against access by minors.
swissinfo.ch and agencies