A record number of people in Switzerland reported being victims of cybercrimes such as phishing last year. Numbers for 2013 increased almost 12% over the previous year, according to the Cybercrime Coordination Unit Switzerland (CYCO).
Some 9,200 cases of attempts to steal or extort money via the internet were reported to CYCO in 2013, 1,000 more than in 2012, according to the organisation’s annual report.
Instances of phishing – when cybercriminals try to get access to passwords and e-banking data through falsified websites or emails – increased the most, while reports of child pornography websites decreased by 47%. For the first time, reported instances of fraud and phishing together outnumbered those related to child pornography websites.
However, another form of sexual exploitation, known as “sextortion”, did see an increase in 2013. This form of cybercrime involves victims being convinced to perform sexually explicit acts in front of a webcam. Cybercriminals then extort money from the victims, who are usually male, by threatening to publish the video.
Another form of extortion, known as “ransomware”, was also prevalent, involving blocking a victim’s computer with a special programme and demanding money to remove the blockage.
CYCO, a division of the Federal Police Office, also employs undercover police officers who go after cybercriminals and child pornography handlers online and in chat rooms. Around 420 instances resulted from those efforts, of which about ten resulted in conviction, usually on charges related to illegal pornography.
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