Interpol lays out response blueprint for global cybercrime war

  • New Interpol facility in Singapore to aid in fighting international cybercrime
  • IGCI Transition Support Office already operational with five full-time staff

Interpol lays out response blueprint for global cybercrime warAN estimated 14 people per second fall victim to cybercrime around the world. In the on-going fight against cybercriminals, the need for a global alliance to close the gaps these attackers use to their advantage has become fundamental.
To better facilitate international police cooperation in combating cybercrime in cases that typically span multiple borders, the International Criminal Police Organisation, otherwise known as Interpol, is establishing a Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI), which will open in Singapore in 2014.
Addressing attendees at the recently concluded RSA Conference Asia Pacific in Singapore, James Pang (pic), Interpol’s assistant director of the Digital Crime and Investigative Support Sub-Directorate, said the inspiration for the establishment of the IGCI and other connected initiatives came from a successful 2012 'sting' operation called Operation Unmask which resulted in the arrest of individuals believed to be connected with the hacking collective Anonymous.
The simultaneous transnational operation to take down members of Anonymous was successfully coordinated thanks to close collaboration between the police and prosecution services of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Spain, with Interpol acting as a facilitator.
As a result of information-sharing and data-mining efforts, common handle names – so called ‘nicknames’ -- were identified as being those responsible for DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks in these countries and others, during one of the Interpol meetings on cybercrime.
“The results of this operation were significant in the sense that actionable cyber intelligence enabled several law enforcement authorities to conduct simultaneous operations in cooperation with prosecutors,” Pang said.
He shared that during the operation, 47 houses were searched across 19 cities in five countries, while 34 people were arrested and IT equipment seized with five terabytes of information needing to be analysed.
Pang highlighted that the reason why this case is so significant is because it clearly demonstrates that harmonisation needs to take place, where possible, so that legislation facilitates investigation rather than hampers it.
It also demonstrates that multi-stakeholder cooperation is crucial and that Interpol must enhance its platforms – both physical and virtual -- across which these stakeholders can discuss and exchange cybercrime intelligence.
“As we all know, cybercrime is transnational in nature and no one country can fight it alone. There is currently no unified perspective on cybercrime within the law enforcement community; some countries are prioritising it as part of their national security, and others have not,” said Pang.
Challenges currently faced by law enforcement agencies include:

  • Slowness of mutual legal assistance (MLA)
  • Restrictions in information sharing
  • Time lag in jurisprudence
  • Fast evolving technology and methodology used by criminals
  • Lack of resources

“The problem of brain drain towards the private sector also adds to the problem of talent retention,” said Pang.
He said that Interpol is a “pragmatic organisation that focuses on the intersection of crime and technology in a world that is becoming increasingly inter-connected.”
“Our tools and services are used by our 190 member countries that help them enhance their operations and curtail acts of transnational crime as much as possible,” he said.
He added that the Stolen and Lost Travel Document database alone was searched nearly 800 million times in 2012, and played a vital role in assisting law enforcement officials in identifying criminals when they attempt to cross a border.

Next page: Securing the digital border

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