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Online Safety: Cybercrime and Commerce

Cybercrime and Commerce

Commerce risks can include dangers such as  cybercrime, identify theft, copyright, online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and or financial scams.

Cybercrime is criminal activity committed using computers and/or the internet. It is broadly categorised as either ‘cyber-enabled’ (crimes that can happen offline but are enabled at scale and at speed on-line) or ‘cyber dependent’ (crimes that can be committed only by using a computer).

Cyber-dependent crimes include

  • unauthorised access to computers (illegal ‘hacking’), for example accessing a school’s computer network to look for test paper answers or change grades awarded
  • denial of Service (Dos or DDoS) attacks or ‘booting’. These are attempts to make a computer, network or website unavailable by overwhelming it with internet traffic from multiple sources
  • making, supplying or obtaining malware (malicious software) such as viruses, spyware, ransomware, botnets and Remote Access Trojans with the intent to commit further offences.


Children with particular skill and interest in computing and technology may inadvertently or deliberately stray into cyber-dependent crime. If there are concerns about a child, the DSL (or a deputy), should respond in line with their child protection policy and consider referring into the Cyber Choices programme. 'Cyber Choices' is a nationwide police programme supported by the Home Office and led by the National Crime Agency, working with regional and local policing. It aims to intervene where young people are at risk of committing, or being drawn into, low level cyber-dependent offences and divert them to a more positive use of their skills and interests.


The NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) launched  CyberSprinters  which is a free interactive game, aimed at 7 to 11-year-olds, designed in consultation with educational practitioners to make learning about cyber security fun and interactive at a time when children might begin to seek more independence online.

In 2022, the NCSC developed and added new resources in partnership with Internet Matters, which aim to help empower parents and carers to continue conversations around cyber security in the home environment. There are 15 puzzles aimed at children aged between 7-11 years old and 3 interactive stories for young people to read with their adults.