Fighting cybercrime in a connected world


In an increasingly inter-connected world, the impacts of cybercrime can be far-reaching, fast moving and devastating to victims.

To address the challenges for police face preventing and investigating cybercrime globally, the seventh Europol-Interpol Cybercrime Conference brought together cyber experts from law enforcement, private industry, international organisations and academia for in-depth discussions on the latest cyber threats, trends and strategies.

Under the theme “Law enforcement in a connected future”, the three day conference earlier this month focused on developments in technology which could be exploited by criminals but also used to benefit police.

Key themes included benefits and challenges of artificial intelligence (AI) for police; the potential impacts of 5G technology; cross-border access to electronic evidence; obstacles to international co-operation on cybercrime investigations; the importance of cyber capacity building; cryptocurrency trends and challenges; the use of open source intelligence and privacy considerations.

With cybercriminals constantly evolving and transforming tactics, Interpol’s cybercrime director Craig Jones said the traditional model of policing is “being challenged like never before”.

“The cybercriminal world is agile and adapting, connecting and co-operating in ways we never imagined even a few years ago,” he said.

“Law enforcement must adapt to this ever changing criminal environment to effectively protect communities in the cyber domain.”

During the opening ceremony, Jones launched Interpol’s ‘#BECareful’ global public awareness campaign on business email compromise (BEC) fraud. The campaign, which will run for a month, will inform the public about this growing type of fraud and provide tips on how to stay safe.

The international police organisation presented the findings of its first cybercrime threat assessment at the conference. The report provides an analysis of cybercrime trends in different regions using information provided by member countries, private partners and open source intelligence.

One trend identified is a shift from malware targeting computers to attacks targeting mobile devices, due to mobile devices being used more frequently as payment platforms.

In response to a rise in cryptojacking – where criminals remotely accesses victims’ system using malware to hijack computing power to create cryptocurrency – Interpol disseminated more than 170 Cyber Activity Reports with recommendations for prevention and mitigation.

Steven Wilson, Europol European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) head said: “Three days of conference with partners from law enforcement, industry and academia have shown what we can achieve when we work together to tackle the global issue of cybercrime.”

“All these elements are necessary to disrupt organised crime activity and reduce the online threat to businesses, governments and, above all, EU citizens. I look forward to building on relationships to deliver an improved international response to this ever increasing challenge,” he added.

The conference, attended by more than 400 delegates from 70 countries, provided an opportunity for Europol and Interpol to reconfirm their strong commitment to continue their collaboration in the fight against cybercrime.