Cybercrime: EU's 'best brains' to be enlisted to fight

Posted in: Legal & Security at 29/03/2012 15:11

The European Commission has announced plans to set up a dedicated centre to fight cybercrime.

"[It] will bring together some of Europe's best brains in the field of cybercrime," said Cecilia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, at a press conference in Brussels.

Based in The Hague, it will be based alongside Europol, the pan-European police force.

The plan is for the centre to be up and running by January 2013.

It will be primarily focused on fighting credit card and bank fraud.

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EU to get tough on cybercrime, file-sharers to be spared [IDG]
The European Commission is to get tough on cybercrime, but won't target illegal file-sharing, it revealed on Wednesday.

The Commission proposes to set up a European Cybercrime Centre as part of the European police force, Europol, in The Hague in the Netherlands. The center would have a separate governing board, but would be charged with identifying organized cybercriminal networks and providing operational support.

Cyber-centre to shield EU against online crime
The European Commission laid out plans on Wednesday for a centre to combat illegal online activity and shield the EU against cyber-crime, a rapidly expanding enterprise that costs global business an estimated $380 billion a year.

The EU cyber-crime centre, to be based in the Netherlands, is expected to be running by January 2013, pending approval by the budgetary authority of Europol, the pan-European police force. The centre would be co-located with Europol in The Hague.

An EU Cybercrime Centre to fight online criminals and protect e-consumers [news release]
It is estimated that, worldwide, more than one million people become victims of cybercrime every day. The cost of cybercrime could reach an overall total of USD 388 billion worldwide.

Today, the European Commission proposed to establish a European Cybercrime Centre to help protect European citizens and businesses against these mounting cyber-threats. The centre will be established within the European Police Office, Europol in The Hague (The Netherlands). The centre will be the European focal point in fighting cybercrime and will focus on illegal online activities carried out by organised crime groups, particularly those generating large criminal profits, such as online fraud involving credit cards and bank credentials.

The EU experts will also work on preventing cybercrimes affecting e-banking and online booking activities, thus increasing e-consumers trust. A focus of the European Cybercrime Centre will be to protect social network profiles from e-crime infiltration and will help the fight against online identity theft. It will also focus on cybercrimes which cause serious harm to their victims, such as online child sexual exploitation and cyber-attacks affecting critical infrastructure and information systems in the Union.

"Millions of Europeans use the Internet for home banking, online shopping and planning holidays, or to stay in touch with family and friends via online social networks. But as the online part of our everyday lives grows, organised crime is following suit - and these crimes affect each and every one of us," said Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs. "We can't let cybercriminals disrupt our digital lives. A European Cybercrime Centre within Europol will become a hub for cooperation in defending an internet that is free, open and safe."

By 2011, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of European households had Internet access at home and in 2010 over one third of EU citizens (36 percent) were banking online. Eighty percent of young Europeans connect through online social networks and approximately USD 8 trillion exchanges hands globally each year in e-commerce.

Consequently, cybercrime is on the raise and cyber-criminals have created a profitable market around their illegal activities where credit card details can be sold between organised crime groups for as little as €1 per card, a counterfeited physical credit card for around €140 and bank credentials for as little as €60.

Cybercrimes are also targeting social media: up to 600 000 Facebook accounts are blocked every day, after various types of hacking attempts and over 6 700 000 distinct bot-infected computers were detected in 2009.

The European centre will warn EU Member States of major cybercrime threats and alert them of weaknesses in their online defences. It will identify organised cyber-criminal networks and prominent offenders in cyberspace. It will provide operational support in concrete investigations, be it with forensic assistance or by helping to set up cybercrime Joint Investigation Teams.

To achieve its tasks and to better support cybercrime investigators, prosecutors and judges in the Member States, the Centre will fuse information from open sources, private industry, police and academia. The new Centre will also serve as a knowledge base for national police in the Member States and it will pool European cybercrime expertise and training efforts. It will be able to respond to queries from cybercrime investigators, prosecutors and judges as well as the private sector on specific technical and forensic issues.

The Centre will serve as a platform for European cybercrime investigators, where they can have a collective voice in discussions with the IT industry, other private sector companies, the research community, users' associations and civil society organisations. Finally, the Centre is to become the natural partner for wider international partners and initiatives in the field of cybercrime.

The centre is expected to start operations in January of next year.

For the Centre to be established, the Commission's proposal now needs to be adopted by the budgetary authority of Europol.


The Commission announced its intention to establish a European Cybercrime Centre in the 'EU Internal Security Strategy in Action' (IP/10/1535 and MEMO/10/598), adopted on 22 November 2010 by the Commission. The strategic priority given to tackling cybercrime is also reflected in the strategic and operational targets in the fight against cybercrime that have been agreed between Member States, the Council, the Commission and Europol.

Today's Communication on a European Cybercrime Centre is part of a series of measures that seek to protect citizens from online crimes, complementing legislative proposals such as the Directive on attacks against information systems, the text of which is currently debated in the European Parliament (IP/10/1239 and MEMO/10/463) or the Directive on combating the sexual exploitation of children online and child pornography, adopted in 2011 (IP/10/379 and MEMO/10/107).

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