Cybercrime: an overview of incidents and issues in Canada
Cybercrime: an overview of incidents and issues in Canada is the RCMP’s first report on cybercrime, and focuses on aspects of the cybercrime environment that affect Canada’s public organizations, businesses and citizens in real and harmful ways.
This report covers a broad range of criminal offences where the Internet and information technologies are used to carry out illegal activities. It describes select crimes in Canada’s digital landscape to show the rising technical complexity, sophistication and expansion of cybercrime. While difficult to measure, these crimes show no sign of slowing in Canada.
The RCMP breaks cybercrime into two categories:
- technology-as-target – criminal offences targeting computers and other information technologies, such as those involving the unauthorized use of computers or mischief in relation to data, and;
- technology-as-instrument – criminal offences where the Internet and information technologies are instrumental in the commission of a crime, such as those involving fraud, identity theft, intellectual property infringements, money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking, organized crime activities, child sexual exploitation or cyber bullying.
These categories are examined in this report through examples and law enforcement case studies involving recent cybercrime threats. The report concludes with three key observations:
- Technology creates new opportunities for criminals. Online markets and Internet-facing devices provide the same opportunities and benefits for serious and organized criminal networks as they do for legitimate businesses.
- Cybercrime is expanding. Once considered the domain of criminals with specialized skills, cybercrime activities have expanded to other offenders as the requisite know-how becomes more accessible.
- Cybercrime requires new ways of policing. The criminal exploitation of new and emerging technologies – such as cloud computing and social media platforms, anonymous online networks and virtual currency schemes – requires new policing measures to keep pace in a digital era.
This report and future versions will inform Canadians of criminal threats and trends in cyberspace, and law enforcement efforts to combat them.
Inside the report