Innovation to curb rising cybercrime attacks main theme of 2021 Europol-INTERPOL forum

A joint Europol-INTERPOL cybercrime conference has concluded with a call to develop innovative policing solutions to boost cybercrime investigations and help countries exploit digital evidence.

Hosted at the Europol headquarters in The Hague, the 9th Europol-INTERPOL Cybercrime Conference (held on 11 November, 2021) brought together law enforcement officials and selected public sector partners from 47 countries, as well as key European Union institutions such as the European Council, Eurojust and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL).

Delegates shared experiences and latest cyber threat assessments, covering financial aspects of cybercrime, current and emerging challenges and policing innovations that are shaping the future.

Coordinated approaches against child sexual abuse and the importance of hash databases in child victim identification were also high on the agenda.

Discussions provided insight on operational highlights in tackling key cyber threats such as the astronomical growth of ransomware threats, and how new developments in technology being exploited by criminals can also be used to benefit police.

“Cybercrime is an urgent global security risk, costing trillions of dollars each year. To address what is a parallel crime pandemic, law enforcement and the private sector need to take strong, collective action,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

“By leveraging innovation, INTERPOL addresses the gaps our members face in combatting cybercrime across the globe. INTERPOL cyber capabilities will always be readily available to support national law enforcement agencies and our regional partners like Europol – this is at the heart of INTERPOL’s mission,” added Mr Stock.

Cyber and innovation-enabled future

Delegates heard how, to keep pace with technological developments, law enforcement must have the right skillsets to tackle digital crime at the national, regional and international levels, as well as targeted and tailored capacity building focusing on policing innovation.

Discussions illustrated how societal and technological advances can enable police to tackle cybercrime with innovative solutions, such as the decryption of evidence lawfully obtained through criminal investigations and the role of laboratories in law enforcement innovation.

Innovation is crucial to stay on top of policing issues in today’s fast-changing world where criminals are quick to exploit technology and opportunities.

The forum was challenged to develop new global models in collaboration and partnership, as cybercrime is a global threat that requires a global response.

Long-term collaboration

The Europol-INTERPOL Cybercrime Conference is a joint initiative launched in 2013 as part of a strong joint commitment to nurture cooperation in tackling cybercrime.

Held annually, the conference alternates between Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) in The Hague and the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore.

The conference comes just days after INTERPOL released the results of a four-year global operation which resulted in the dismantling of a ransomware cybercrime gang, and seven arrests. The suspects arrested during the operation coordinated with Europol, are suspected of perpetrating tens of thousands of ransomware infections and demanding more than EUR 200 million in ransom.

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