Before the term cybercrime was coined, there were only hackers. These were individuals that had the power to break into mainframes and manipulate systems however they pleased. However, with the advances made in the technological world, companies and users alike now store an increasing amount of personal information in the cloud and other platforms. This sensitive data is incredibly attractive to cyberthieves, who have earned their name after breaching and infecting consumer computers and company infrastructures.
The issue of cybercrime has become exponentially more severe in recent years. In fact, according to a McAfee study, cybercriminal activity now costs the global economy anywhere from $400 to $575 billion annually. These hackers steal their profits out from under legitimate businesses, making off with 15 to 20 percent of the total value created within the online economy. This equates to $2 to $3 trillion on an annual basis.
The study found that cybercrime was much worse in certain countries when compared to the activity elsewhere in the world. For instance, the Netherlands and Germany ranked the highest in terms of cybercrime levels with 1.5 and 1.6 percent respectively. The U.S. wasn’t far behind with 0.64 percent and China came in at 0.63 percent. This activity has resulted in a range of malicious outcomes, including the theft of more than 40 million identities in the U.S. alone. Although some countries are more prone to these types of events than others, cybercrime is clearly a global issue.
However, these activities do not come without consequences. While the law has generally been slow to catch up to the innovative strategies utilized by cyberthieves to carry out their malicious and fraudulent purposes, security vendors and law enforcement have recently teamed up across the globe to help put an end to cybercrime.
Trend Micro teams with INTERPOL for three-year partnership agreement
One example of the security and law enforcement communities coming together involves an agreement reached between Trend Micro and INTERPOL. According to ITWire, the partnership was announced in early October 2014 and would allow the law enforcement group to benefit from the tools, training and human resources of the security firm. In addition, INTERPOL will also receive threat analysis information courtesy of Trend Micro’s Threat Intelligence Service to improve information sharing among the public and private sectors, as well as to enable better cyber crime fighting across the globe. The groups also hope that this may lead to an eventual prevention of cybercrime activity.
“As the world’s largest international police organization, INTERPOL has a responsibility to forge partnerships across all sectors to ensure our member countries have access to the tools and resources they need to assist investigators to prevent and solve crimes,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble. “Trend Micro’s support for the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation will enable us to leverage their expertise in supporting each of our 190 member countries in their efforts to combat cyber threats.”
Besides providing information on the latest threats being discovered in the cyber landscape, Trend Micro will also offer a training program to INTERPOL staff members to allow for improved cybercrime investigations. The program, supported by a Trend Micro security researcher onsite at INTERPOL’s Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore, will teach attendees the latest strategies and techniques so that member countries can expand their investigatory capabilities.
Trend Micro chief executive Eva Chen told ZDNet that the security firm is proud to take up its new role of supporting and helping INTERPOL fight the global hacker community.
“Our partnership with INTERPOL will provide tools, training and human resources to strengthen their team’s capability to fight criminal activity around the world,” Chen said.
ENISA and Europol work together to fight cybercrime
Earlier this year, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security [ENSIA] and Europol also announced an agreement for a strategic partnership to bolster each group’s crime fighting capabilities. According to Tripwire, the agreement includes provisions for the sharing of specific cybercrime knowledge and expertise, strategic analysis and best practice reports, as well as training and raising awareness of network and information security.
ENISA noted that the main purpose of the agreement was to allow for improved cooperation among ENISA, Europol and its European Cybercrime Center, but would not include the sharing of sensitive personal information.
“This agreement is an important step in the fight against ever more skilled cybercriminals who are investing more time, money and people on targeted attacks,” noted a joint statement from ENISA executive director Professor Udo Helmbrecht and Europol director Rob Wainwright. “Our agreement demonstrates that we are highly committed to jointly contributing within our respective areas of expertise, and to support each other’s work in the quest to make Europe a safer place online.”
Overall, these initiatives show that by sharing information on threats, investigation strategies and other resources, law enforcement and security groups can work together to enhance their abilities to fight and prevent cybercriminal activity.