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Europol and Interpol Upholds Fight against Cyber Crime

At the 5th annual Europol-Interpol Cybercrime Conference held in The Hague, Netherlands, two familiar faces in the cybercrime world reaffirmed their strong commitment to continue their partnership in the war against cybercrime.

Europol and Interpol, the two law enforcement organizations pledged to continue their good work and to build on successful examples of their partnership.

Cyber specialists from across the globe came together in The Hague to address the challenges regarding the provision of effective cybersecurity provided in an interconnected world.

Among them included ‘No More Ransom’, an anti-ransomware cross-industry seeking to help victims of ransomware get back their lost data without any hassle such as the payment of ransoms.

During the past few years, ransomware managed to be the stand-out threat amongst the vast cyber threats. Globally orchestrated ransomware attacks have haphazardly affected millions of victims both in the public and private sectors.

This year has been full of ransomware attacks, costing firms and companies millions of dollars with some attacks even crippling these same businesses.

In Europol’s latest annual report on internet organized crime, it stated that “Ransomware attacks have eclipsed most other global cybercrime threats, with the first half of 2017 witnessing ransomware attacks on a scale previously unseen.”

At the launch of the 80 page-report, Rob Wainright, Europol’s chief said “The global impact of huge cybersecurity events such as the WannaCry ransomware epidemic has taken the threat of cybercrime to another level.”

Earlier this year, the “Petya” ransomware attack crushed many organizations in Europe and the United States. The malicious software spread through large firms and organizations such as the advertiser WPP, legal firm DLA Piper and Danish shipping and transport firm Maersk. It then locked up their PCs and data demanding a ransom to release them.

It was described as the second major global ransomware attack in a space of just two months with the biggest one being the WannaCry ransomware epidemic.

With the theme of ‘Actively united for a safer cyberspace,’ the conference had over 420 delegates from 68 countries to highlight the importance of creating a universal global response which incorporates all stakeholders including the private sector, international organizations, governments and the police.

“The current state of cybercrime, reaching all the corners of the world and threatening to undermine the benefits brought by the new technologies, requires a global response. INTERPOL supports law enforcement to tackle the emerging challenges through a number of channels, providing a global platform including not only communication tools but a wide range of services, from capacity building programmes to cyberthreat intelligence support,” stated INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime Silvino Schlickmann.

He continued by saying: “Cooperation with Europol is one of our highest priorities to combat cybercrime in the most effective way.”

Europol and Interpol stated that one of the most effective ways of fighting ransomware is to prevent it.

Over 1.4 million people have visited the website which is still expanding and improving its contributions, since the launch of the ‘No More Ransom’ platform in July 2016.

While Slovak and Persian have been the latest language additions, the number of languages available at the website now rises to 28, according to Europol adviser and chief scientist at security firm McAfee, Raj Samani.

These tools can be used to decrypt 84 ransomware families, with 52 free decryptions, Samani told reporters.

“I am proud of what we have achieved with No More Ransom, but I never expected it to be as popular as it has,” said Samani. “During WannaCry, we had eight million hits in a single day.”

In the joint closing statement, Europol and Interpol came to an agreement on specific steps in the collaborated fight against ransomware:

  • identifying approaches to tackling the threat of cybercrime in a more proactive and efficient manner
  • a coordinated law enforcement approach to addressing the threat from the dark web
  • to continue to focus on coordinated prevention and awareness initiatives to increase baseline cybersecurity
  • nurture the skills and expertise needed to ensure a safer cyberspace

The head of Europol’s European Cyber Crime Center, Steven Wilson, stated that this year’s conference recorded the highest participation since it began in 2013.

“In just a few years, this event has become a leading name within the global community of cyber crime fighters,” Mr. Wilson said.

“With the conference already behind us, it is now time to start working on fulfilling the objectives jointly agreed [upon] with Interpol. So, let’s get to work and remain actively united for a safer cyberspace.”

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