Media release

Countries should harmonise methods of investigation in fight against cybercrime

Photo: EU2015.LV
27 March 2015

On 25-27 March the European Police College (CEPOL) conference „Cybercrime – Strategic level" took place in Jūrmala. The aim of the conference was to improve cooperation and harmonize the investigative methods among law enforcement authorities of the EU Member States, as well as to improve public and private partnership and cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries and EU candidate countries for combat against cybercrime.

The conference was opened by the CEPOL Director Dr Ferenc Bánfi, the Minister for the Interior of the Republic of Latvia Mr Rihards Kozlovskis, and the Chief of the State Police of Latvia, general Ints Ķuzis. 

In the opening Rihards Kozlovskis stressed that “not only private individuals and companies suffer from cyber-crimes, but also a state as a whole. Therefore cyber-crime can be considered not only as a crime against property, but also as a crime against national security. As the threats have become global, cooperation and effective communication among different countries and law enforcement authorities is crucial in combat against cybercrime.” 

Whereas, the CEPOL Director Dr Ferenc Bánfi pointed out that internet is nowadays used not only for honest purposes, but also for criminal activities, adding that law enforcement agencies fighting cybercrime cannot work in isolation. “The complicated fight against cyber-crime makes it necessary to implement comprehensive and various plans of action, techniques and methods, consequently, the need for training is growing very fast, too,” stressed Bánfi, adding that training in the international environment offers the opportunities not only to improve the knowledge and skills, but also to promote cooperation among the representatives of the law enforcement authorities.

Ints Ķuzis also pointed out that “online crime is a direct threat to human rights, and it affects people everywhere in the world. Since the nature of these crimes does not respect national borders, the international action is needed. The fight against this type of crime should be deployed in a waythat would allow law enforcement authorities in one country effectively cooperate with similar institutions abroad. Law enforcement authorities are also in need for training and the base of technical knowledge in order to fight cybercrime within globally compatible system.”

Ints Ķuzis also said that in 2014 there were about 400 cyber-crimes registered in Latvia, but this figure does not reflect the actual number of cyber-crimes because of their hidden nature and other related features. In 2014 the Information Technology Security Incident Response Institution of the Republic of Latvia CERT recorded more than 3000 incidents of high priority and almost half a million incidents of low priority. Overall, the number of cybercrime is growing rapidly.

At the conference a special focus was devoted to the cooperation with the law enforcement authorities from the Eastern Partnership countries in solving and preventing the cyber-crime cases. There were also discussions on challenges, which impede to successfully investigate the crimes involving organized criminal groups as well as on strategic objectives and priorities which should be determined at EU level.

The topics of discussion were possible cooperation mechanisms with the private sector which possesses 85% of all the information technology infrastructure; solutions for more effective use of existing instruments for combating cyber-crime in practice, future development areas of the legal framework  as well as opportunities for cooperation with third countries. Other topical issues related to practical improvements in preventing and combating cyber-crime were also discussed during the conference.

At the end of the conference the following main challenges were identified: the anonymity of cyber-crime, criminal activity on the internet in coded form, the spread of cyber-crime across the borders, large number of latent cyber-incidents, increase in the number of devices connected to the internet, cyber-crime spreading as a paid service, lack of instruments to carry out an investigation due to privacy issues and the scarcity of specialist training. 

It was concluded at the end of the conference the following main priorities in combating cyber-crime were outlined: criminal investigation, prevention, support of practical operations for fight against cyber-crime, development of cooperation and implementation of the necessary legal framework. Also, it is necessary to promote cooperation with the private sector and to take advantage of its potential. Direct contacts among law enforcement authorities and private sector must be established, thus promoting operative cooperation. It is necessary to develop cooperation also with third countries, taking into account the global nature of cyber-crime, which cannot be combated in isolation.

The conference was attended by 83 experts from EU Member States, representatives from the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, Europol and CEPOL, representatives from the Eastern Partnership countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), Turkey, representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation from the US and representatives from the private companies.

Gunta Skrebele
Expert in communication