Europol-Interpol Cybercrime Conference steps up policing in cyberspace

25 September 2013
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Europol and Interpol have held their first joint Cybercrime Conference with the aim of enhancing international cooperation to tackle existing and future challenges in policing cyberspace.

Over 250 professionals attended the two-day conference on 24 and 25 September at Europol headquarters in The Hague. Participants from 42 countries, representing over 80 different organisations, came mainly from law enforcement authorities but also included cyber professionals from NGOs, private industry and academia.

Over the two days 50 speakers from a variety of backgrounds examined opportunities for improving cooperation between police cyber departments around the world. Presentations were on case studies of different types of cybercrime, legislation, prosecution, R&D, cyber security, virtual currencies, training and capacity building, as well as coordination initiatives. A movie was also screened on the ‘2020 Project’, which will inform citizens and businesses about future cybercrime developments and trigger discussions about how we share our information and with whom.

“In a borderless cyberspace, criminals actively cooperate by sharing their tools and methods, including how best to hide from police,” says Troels Oerting, Head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). “EC3 and Interpol’s Global Centre for Innovation have established an unbeatable alliance to improve and expand cooperation, servicing our Member States and stakeholders while respecting our respective legal frameworks. Our work doesn’t stop when we turn off the lights after this conference. We are prepared to do our share of the heavy lifting, and I am confident that we are on the right track, and our excellent cooperation with Interpol and our 28 EU Member States is the evidence of that.”

The vibrant and positive discussions during the event resulted in a very cooperative atmosphere between public and private partners present, who were empowered to take on the cybercrime challenge together. At the end of the conference, a set of conclusions were agreed upon which included:

  • Meeting regularly and working differently, through a combination of key factors such as prevention, (joint) investigations/prosecution, capacity building, disruption and regulation
  • The building of inclusive partnerships, incorporating cross-border police cooperation, international partners/agencies, the private sector, NGOs and the scientific community
  • The establishment of a global cyber community consisting of a single virtual environment for all experts, using EC3 SPACE + I-SPACE, interconnected with interoperable services
  • Fostering privacy over anonymity which will entail an adequate level of registration, end-user traceability, access only under strict conditions and robust compliance supervision
  • An alignment of priorities between partners, to include the sharing/combining of threat assessments, identification of joint priorities and the orchestration of joint actions 
  • And an investment in advanced technology to handle large quantities of data, compensate for the lack of human resources and to investigate and disrupt cybercrime more effectively. This would also minimise the duplication of efforts and maximise complementarity between the partners involved.

The borderless nature of cybercrime and especially the ease with which criminal activity can take place at any time, in any location, makes it a crime that requires more international coordination and cooperation than any other. That’s why, in January 2013, Europol opened the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) as the focal point in the EU’s fight against cybercrime. Working closely together with Interpol member countries through its forthcoming Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore, will strengthen the support available to law enforcement authorities worldwide, to ensure a stronger and more pro-active policing of cyberspace.

Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, commented: “Interpol and Europol have a strong track record of cooperation going back many years. Cybercrime is the best example of the globalisation of crime, which is why it is so important that national cybercrime units make use of the services we offer. Cybercrime has rightly become the flagship area of cooperation between our two organisations. Based on the success of this year’s event, I expect the Europol-Interpol Cybercrime Conference to become an important date in the calendars of cyber investigators and policy makers across the globe.”  

The annual Europol-Interpol Cybercrime Conference is an innovative joint initiative to be held alternately in The Hague and Singapore, where the new IGCI complex is currently being built.

Executive Director of the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI), Noboru Nakatani emphasised the transnational nature of crimes committed in cyberspace, where the lack of physical or virtual borders means international police cooperation is crucial to preventing and combating criminal acts.

“As cybercrime is a truly a transnational crime, it requires global solutions based on universal values. No nation, no international organisation, can solve this problem on its own; we need a global alliance to fight cybercrime,” Mr Nakatani said.  “Through the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation, we will be a proactive catalyst in such an alliance, in cooperation with EC3, focusing on the intersection of crime and technology in a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected,” he concluded.