Combating Cybercrime in a Digital Age

WHEN? The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) commenced its activities in January 2013.

WHY? To strengthen the law enforcement response to cybercrime in the European Union (EU) and to help protect European citizens, businesses and governments. Its establishment was a priority under the EU Internal Security Strategy .

The threat from cybercrime is increasing and the EU is a key target mainly due to

  • its advanced Internet infrastructure
  • its internet-based economies and payments systems.

WHY AT EUROPOL? By situating the EC3 within Europol the Centre was able to not only draw on Europol’s existing law enforcement capacity but also to expand significantly on other capabilities, in particular the operational and analytical support to Member States’ investigations.


The EC3 has been tasked to focus on the following three areas:

  • Cybercrimes committed by organised groups, particularly those generating large criminal profits such as online fraud ;
  • Cybercrimes which cause serious harm to the victim such as online child sexual exploitation ;
  • Cybercrimes (including cyber-attacks ) affecting critical infrastructure and information systems in the European Union.

With regard to these three areas, Europol’s EC3:

  • Serves as the central hub for criminal information and intelligence;
  • Supports Member States operations and investigations by means of operational analysis, coordination and expertise;
  • Provides a variety of strategic analysis products enabling informed decision making at tactical and strategic level concerning the combating and prevention of cybercrime;
  • Establishes a comprehensive outreach function connecting cybercrime related law enforcement authorities with the private sector, academia and other non-law enforcement partners;
  • Supports training and capacity building, in particular for the competent authorities in the Member States;
  • Provides highly specialised technical and digital forensic support capabilities to investigations and operations;
  • Represents the EU law enforcement community in areas of common interest (R&D requirements, internet governance, and policy development).

Organisational Chart