Europol announces taskforce to fight cybercrime networks

europol-cyberEuropol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, announced that a ‘Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) is launched to strengthen the fight against cybercrime in the European Union and beyond’. New unit will be in charge of coordinating international investigations into cybercrime threats and networks and be located at the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol.

The J-CAT, which is being piloted for six months, will be led by Andy Archibald, Deputy Director of the National Cyber Crime Unit from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), according to a press release.

The team will be comprised of cyber liaison officers from member states and other law enforcement cooperation partners. Austria, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the US have become a part of the J-CAT so far.

“For the first time in modern police history a multi-lateral permanent cybercrime taskforce has been established in Europe to coordinate investigations against top cybercriminal networks” said Troels Oerting, the Head of the European Cybercrime Centre. “The Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce will operate from secure offices in Europol’s HQ assisted by experts and analysts from the European Cybercrime Centre. The aim is not purely strategic, but also very operational.

“The goal is to prevent cybercrime, to disrupt it, catch crooks and seize their illegal profits. This is a first step in a long walk towards an open, transparent, free but also safe Internet. The goal cannot be reached by law enforcement alone, but will require a consolidated effort from many stakeholders in our global village. But the J-CAT will do its part of the necessary ‘heavy-lifting’ and that work started today. I am confident we will see practical tangible results very soon.”

The J-CAT will collect data on specific criminal themes from relevant partners in participating countries, transform raw data into solid intelligence and propose actions and targets for investigations. The coverage theme-wise will include all relevant internet areas like malware coding, testing, distribution, botnets, crime-as-a-service, online fraud, intrusion etc. The team will also provide consultancy to key actors, governmental or private.

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