European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) opens at Europol
Date: Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:47
Last week saw the official launch of the new European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), based at Europol’s state-of-the-art headquarters in The Hague. EC3 will be the focal point in the EU’s fight against cybercrime, protecting citizens and businesses against cybercrime threats
EC3 opening ceremony
Image credited to Europol
The new Centre will serve as a European information hub on cybercrime, developing and deploying digital forensic capabilities to support investigations in the EU, building capacity to combat cybercrime through training and awareness raising, as well as delivering best practice on cybercrime investigations.
In his opening speech at the event, the Director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, welcomed senior law enforcement personnel, VIPs, dignitaries and other invited guests to the event, before handing over to EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, who expressed how EC3 would be the key to reducing cybercrime activities and making the EU's internet-based economy a secure place for citizens and businesses. "The Cybercrime Centre will give a strong boost to the EU's capacity to fight cybercrime and defend an internet that is free, open and secure. Cybercriminals are smart and quick in using new technologies for criminal purposes; the EC3 will help us become even smarter and quicker to help prevent and fight their crimes", said EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström.
Other speakers included the Mayor of The Hague, Jozias van Aartsen; John O’Mahoney, Chairman of the Europol Management Board and John Morton, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As part of the event, a Letter of Intent was signed between Europol and the US ICE, in which the two agencies committed to developing ongoing, cooperative efforts through support, training, and information sharing on different areas of cybercrime.
Europol cybercrime experts also took part in a Europol Expo, to inform event participants about the techniques behind tackling such issues as online fraud, cybercrime which causes serious harm to the victim - such as online child sexual exploitation - as well as cybercrime that affects critical infrastructure and information systems in the EU.
On the opening of the new Centre, Rob Wainwright, Europol Director, said: "The threats from cybercrime are dynamic and rapidly evolving, but a revolution is now underway in EU law enforcement and the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) will be at its forefront. By building trust and establishing information flows between law enforcement and cybersecurity stakeholders, we will be smarter, faster, and stronger, ultimately resulting in a safer cyberspace for EU citizens and businesses."
"In combatting cybercrime, with its borderless nature and huge ability for the criminals to hide, we need a flexible and adequate response. The European Cybercrime Centre is designed to deliver this expertise as a fusion centre, as a centre for operational investigative and forensic support, but also through its ability to mobilise all relevant resources in EU Member States to mitigate and reduce the threat from cybercriminals wherever they operate from", said Troels Oerting, Head of the European Cybercrime Centre
Investigations into online fraud, child abuse online and other cybercrimes regularly involve hundreds of victims at a time, and suspects in many different parts of the world. Operations of this magnitude cannot be successfully concluded by national police forces alone.
The opening of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) marks a significant shift in how the EU has been addressing cybercrime so far. Above all, the approach of the EC3 will be more forward-thinking and inclusive. It will pool expertise and information, support criminal investigations and promote EU-wide solutions.
The EC3 will focus on illegal online activities carried out by organised crime groups, especially attacks targeting e-banking and other online financial activities, online child sexual exploitation and those crimes that affect the critical infrastructure and information systems in the EU.
The Centre will also facilitate research and development and ensure capacity building among law enforcement, judges and prosecutors and will produce threat assessments, including trend analyses, forecasts and early warnings. In order to dismantle more cybercrime networks and prosecute more suspects, the EC3 will gather and process cybercrime related data and will provide a Cybercrime Help desk for EU countries' law enforcement units. It will offer operational support to EU countries (e.g. against intrusion, fraud, online child sexual abuse, etc.) and deliver high-level technical, analytical and forensic expertise in EU joint investigations.
According to a recent Eurobarometer, Europeans remain very concerned about cyber security. 89% of internet users avoid disclosing personal information online, and 12% have already experienced online fraud.
Around one million people worldwide fall victim to some form of cybercrime every day. Estimates indicate that victims lose around €290 billion each year worldwide as a result of cybercriminal activities (Norton, 2011).
The Commission announced its intention to establish a European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) in the 'EU Internal Security Strategy in Action', adopted on 22 November 2010 by the Commission.
The setting up of a (EC3) European Cybercrime Centre is part of a series of measures that seek to protect citizens from online crimes. It complements legislative proposals such as the Directive on attacks against information systems and the Directive on combating the sexual exploitation of children online and child pornography adopted in 2011.