Launched in September 2014, the J-CAT (Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce) is dedicated to fighting international cybercrime threats within the EU and beyond in a pro-active manner. The Taskforce is hosted within Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and comprises cyber liaison officers from 13 EU Member States and non-EU partners and 15 law enforcement agencies.1 Further to the two-year review of the J-CAT’s activities and multiple operational successes, its mandate was extended indefinitely in October 2017.
The J-CAT’s objective is to boost the cooperation between law enforcement authorities, drive intelligence-led, coordinated actions against the major cybercrime threats and facilitate cross-border investigations by its partners. Cybercrime has no borders and the fight against it shouldn’t either.
The new Chairmanship has been elected at today’s Board meeting making the Netherlands the third country to take over the position after the United Kingdom and Germany. Additionally, Norway and Switzerland applied for full-time membership to the J-CAT and they have been unanimously accepted by all other member countries. As such, they attended for the first time the Board meeting and are preparing to deploy their J-CAT cyber liaison officers in the coming months. The enlargement is excellent news since it increases the Taskforce’s capabilities and it is a further step in law enforcement authorities’ cooperation against cybercrime.
Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) plays a crucial role in strengthening the fight against transnational cyber threats and provides the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce with technical and analytical support as well as operational coordination on daily basis in function of the practical needs of the J-CAT and the progress of the operations and projects the Taskforce deals with.
Mr Gert Ras, Head of the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit, said on behalf of the new Chairmanship: "The fight against cybercrime, being fought on international battlegrounds, positions the J-CAT to play a crucial role there. Recent successes in tackling cybercrime, online payment fraud and child sexual exploitation are proof of the potential of the J-CAT. The Netherlands is honoured to take over the chairmanship and to continue the excellent work done by their predecessors."
Mr Ketil Haukaas, Head of the National Criminal Investigation Service of Norway, stated: "The fight against different forms of cybercrime is amongst our top national priorities. To succeed we depend on strong international cooperation. The Joint Cybercrime Action Task Force hosted by EC3 is a solid example of such collaboration. We are happy to join the J-CAT today."
"The appointment of our cyber liaison officer to the J-CAT adds a new and stronger dimension to our combined work with Europol", says Nicoletta della Valle, director of fedpol (the Swiss federal police). "We deeply believe in international cooperation as a crucial tool to fight against threats such as terrorism and cybercriminality. Therefore, our expectations with respect to this coming joint effort are high."
Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), said: "The close collaboration between the J-CAT and EC3 has contributed to outstanding results, which exemplify the impact that pro-active law enforcement action can have on thwarting major cyber threats worldwide. We welcome the expansion of the Taskforce and the new Chairmanship, and look forward to further operational successes."
1 Austria, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Spain (represented by Policía Nacional and Guardia Civil), France, Italy, Netherlands, UK, US (represented by US FBI and USSS), Switzerland, and Norway.