Free course

The psychology of cybercrime

Free statement of participation on completion
The psychology of cybercrime

In this free course, The psychology of cybercrime, you will explore different questions about cybercrime from a psychological angle in an attempt to better understand this relatively recent field of psychology. You will consider the realms and limits of cybercrime, distinguishing between the different types of cybercrime (e.g. trolling, cyber-stalking, fraud, hacking), the experiences of being victims of cybercrime and the causes behind engaging in these types of criminal activity. Finally, current interventions will be highlighted. 

Even though cybercrime is broadly encompassing all the different types of crime committed online, it is important to emphasise very early on that it is likely to be committed by offenders with different characteristics, motivations and behaviours than those who commit other types of crime. As a result, those online criminal activities share similarities with offline equivalents (e.g. fraud and online fraud). The interest in studying the psychology of cybercrime both from the perpetrator and victim perspectives has arisen in an attempt to understand what makes cybercrime unique or similar to its offline counterpart.

Content warning

Cybercrime victimisation can affect both adults and children who engage online. Please find links to two useful guides that give tips on to stay safe online:

This free course is an adapted extract from the Open University course DD802 Investigating forensic psychology357357. Explore the collection of Postgraduate study in psychology and criminology.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • outline the impact on victims
  • distinguish different types of cybercrime, considering the similarities and differences in the definitions and behaviours
  • identify the motivations and behaviours of cybercriminals
  • illustrate the current interventions to tackle cybercrime.

First Published: 17/11/2020

Updated: 17/11/2020