EU Opens Cybercrime-Fighting Support Force

     (CN) – The European Cybercrime Centre opens Friday as part of the EU’s bid to pool resources in fighting online crime, such as banking fraud and child exploitation.
     Nicknamed EC3, the center aims to gather and pool all the necessary resources to provide faster reaction time to online crime, according to a statement from the European Commission.
     The EU’s executive body set the wheels in motion for EC3 in 2010. Norton, a leader in antivirus software, published a study finding that cybercrime in 2011 came at a cost of $338 billion to adults across 24 countries.
     Europol, short for the European Police Office, says there are more than 1 million victims of cybercrime every day.
     “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,” Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU commissioner for home affairs, said in a statement. “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.”
     EC3 will focus on lucrative cybercrime activities by organized groups, cybercrime that can cause serious harm to the victim such as online child sexual exploitation, and cybercrime that affects information systems and critical infrastructure in the European Union.
     The center’s strategy allegedly involves analysis of both criminal and open-source data with the goal of finding trends that reveal how cybercriminals operate, even as such trends change on a daily basis.
     Cybercrime is a growing global problem as more individuals conduct their daily transactions online, the commission said.
     EC3 will thus incorporate an outreach function that cooperates with law-enforcement agencies, private industry, EU institutions, international organizations, the public sector and academia, according to a statement from Europol.
     EC3 also offers a cybercrime helpdesk for EU countries and law enforcement units.
     The center’s new chief, Troels Oerting, emphasized attacking cybercrime with “a flexible and adequate response.”
     “The European Cybercrime Centre is designed to deliver this expertise as a fusion center, as a center for operational investigative and forensic support, but also through its ability to mobilize all relevant resources in EU member states to mitigate and reduce the threat from cybercriminals wherever they operate from,” Troels said in a statement.
     The EC3 boasts computer forensic infrastructure, a digital forensic lab, a faraday environment and a mobile lab. Its technology will be helpful in investigating counterfeiting and revealing trace evidence at a crime scene.
     Since all EU member states do not have equal resources or forensic training, the EC3 will offer them advanced, high-level cybercrime training that cooperates with European Police College and is in line with European Cybercrime Training and Education Group norms, Europol added.
     Commissioner Malmstrom will participate in the official opening of EC3 at Europol headquarters in The Hague.

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