European Parliament flags in front of the EP building in Strasbourg. (Genevieve Engel/EU photo)

50 Nations Gather to Talk Cybersecurity Strategies, from Email to Government Attacks

Cyber experts from law enforcement, the private sector and academia representing 50 countries gathered in Singapore last week to devise strategies for promoting the global cybersecurity agenda.

With cybercriminals using increasingly sophisticated methods and technologies to carry out their illicit activities, the 6th INTERPOL-Europol Cybercrime Conference focused on the most pressing cyberthreats today and in the future, from attacks against the financial and government sectors and the rise of ‘cybercrime as a service’ to denial of service attacks and business e-mail compromise scams.

Key areas of discussion at the conference included developing actionable cyberthreat intelligence, identifying cybercriminals through their online behavior, defining the role of digital forensics, implementing national and regional legislations to tackle cybercrime, and crisis response planning.

INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services Tim Morris stressed the importance of collective action and said only a concerted global effort that maximizes expertise and minimizes gaps will tackle emerging cyber threats.

Following the 2017 conference, INTERPOL and Europol made notable progress in addressing the key identified areas of ransomware, the criminal abuse of the Darknet, and the implementation of a proactive approach to increase public awareness of online safety. In this respect, the two organizations have discussed the need for a strategy to combat the illegal Darknet economy through information sharing, operational support, training and awareness raising.

Recent collective action includes the arrest of two suspects on Sept. 12 in a series of coordinated raids across Germany and Sweden. The Europol- and Frontex-supported investigation targeted a Syrian organized crime group suspected of cyber fraud. House searches were carried out in Aachen, Dortmund and Essen in Germany, and in Nörrköping, Malmö and Helsingborg in Sweden, where police recovered some EUR 54,000 and $55,000. The arrestees are believed to be the key organizers of a cyber fraud gang.

The intelligence-led operation uncovered the organized crime group, composed of Syrian nationals, which was involved in fraudulently purchasing airline and train tickets. According to information from Germany, more than 493 fraudulent bookings were identified. In most cases the tickets were one-way tickets from Beirut to European countries. The tech-savvy smugglers avoided detection by making the bookings using compromised corporate credit cards and credentials, purchased online from other criminals offering them for sale.

The fraudulent bookings were brought to the attention of law enforcement by the private sector, highlighting how instrumental public-private partnerships are in fighting this type of fraud.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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