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Reducing the global impact of cybercrime and protecting communities for a safer world

Craig Jones (Director of Cybercrime, Interpol) will participate to the next edition of European Security Forum, and share his knowledge and best practices on September 15th, 2020. Today, he tells us more about the cyberattacks Interpol fights and discussion the collaboration with nations and states. Due to the current health situation, the now-phygital event will be available via video from all around the world. More information and registration: www.europeansecurityforum.com.

What are the current types of cyberattacks that Interpol fights? Can you share a couple of examples with our readers?

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic had a profound impact on the global cyberthreat landscape. Compounding a global health crisis with a sharp increase in cybercriminal activities related to COVID-19 put significant strains on the global law enforcement communities. To maximise the damage and financial gain, cybercriminals are shifting their targets to businesses, governments and critical infrastructure, which play a crucial role in responding to the outbreak. Concurrently, due to the sudden necessitated global shift to teleworking, organizations had to rapidly deploy remote systems, networks and applications. As a result, criminals are taking advantage of the increased security vulnerabilities arising from remote working to steal data, make profit or cause disruption. In this context, the key cyberthreats that we have analysed since January 2020 based on the information that we collected from member countries and private partners are as below:

· Online Scams and Phishing

· Disruptive Malware (Ransomware and DDoS)

· Data Harvesting Malware

· Malicious domains

· Misinformation


As an international actor, how is Interpol able to collaborate with nations and states on a topic such cybercrime?

In response to the rapidly changing cybercrime landscape, INTERPOL is developing and leading the global law enforcement response against the abovementioned cyberthreats in support of its 194 member countries. In particular, INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Directorate has been working closely with member countries, private sector partners and cybersecurity communities on multiple streams. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, it organized emergency virtual meetings with a variety of stakeholders to provide tailored services to member countries for the prevention, detection and investigation of cybercrime. On a higher level, meetings were hosted for the Heads of national and regional cybercrime units and INTERPOL Global Cybercrime Expert Group. A number of INTERPOL Purple Notices have been published to alert law enforcement community to the emerging and high-risk cyberthreats. These global warnings have been sent through the INTERPOL secured network. In addition, INTERPOL formed a Global Malicious Domain Taskforce consists of internal cybercrime intelligence officers, experts from private partners and cybercrime units in member countries. The objective of the taskforce is to identify and target the threat actors and common infrastructure behind the malicious domains, in order to disrupt and mitigate this type of threat. Lastly, in May 2020, INTERPOL launched a Global Awareness Campaign on COVID-19 Cyberthreats #WashYourCyberHands together with member countries and 23 external partners to alert the public to the identified key cyberthreats linked to the coronavirus pandemic, and to promote good cyber hygiene. It also supported law enforcement organizations around the world in their prevention efforts against the growing cyberthreats related to COVID-19.


What are the challenges you are facing when facing cybercrime? How are you able to overcome them?

Due to the transnational nature of cybercrime and its complexity, member countries in every region are equally affected by the rapidly evolving cybercrime. Cybercriminals are developing and boosting their attacks at an alarming pace exploiting fear and uncertainty caused by the unstable social and economic situation around the world. At the same time, the higher dependency on connectivity and digital infrastructure due to the global lockdown further expands the avenues of cyber intrusion and attacks. Despite this outlook, INTERPOL is taking proactive steps and all relevant measures to support member countries in an unprecedented crisis. It is also preparing for the post COVID-19 threat landscape as we move forward to the next phase of the crisis. INTERPOL is indeed uniquely positioned to develop a global law enforcement response in a collaborative and coordinated manner. The most urgent priority to win the battle against the growing cyberthreats is to further enhance international police cooperation for operational activities and to improve cybercrime information exchange with diverse partners within the global ecosystem of cybersecurity. Focusing on its core pillars of cybercrime threat response, cybercrime operations and cyber capabilities development, INTERPOL Cybercrime Directorate will continue to reduce the global impact of cybercrime and protect communities for a safer world.