More crimes are being committed in cyberspace in north Wales than on the streets, its police and crime commissioner has claimed.
North Wales PCC Arfon Jones also warned businesses were “most at risk”.
The North Wales Police Cyber Crime Team said ransomware crimes – where hackers encrypt files and demand thousands of pounds to unlock them – were being reported to the force “each week”.
Mr Jones said: “The front line is now online.”
He went on: “Technology has provided criminals with new tools and different methods to perpetrate crime.
“Traditional crimes such as burglary, shoplifting and theft have seen a reduction over the last decade but the number of offences hasn’t reduced – it has moved online.
“The playing field has changed and we need to work more effectively in partnership to prevent the newer crimes, such as cyber-crime, from being committed.”
He issued the warning to members of the North Wales Business Club on Monday.
It heard how one firm in Wrexham nearly folded after it had 15 years’ of accounts data encrypted.
Det Sgt Peter Jarvis, of the cyber crime team, said businesses that do not have data back-ups were “left with some difficult decisions”.
“It’s very unlikely you will find the person responsible, they don’t leave a footprint, so it’s vital to have the right security and to follow the right procedures and to make sure your staff do as well,” he added.
ONS figures released in July showed almost six million fraud and cyber crimes were committed in England and Wales in 2015.