The fifth annual Europol report on organised criminal threats (IOCTA) offers a unique vision of the application of the law to emerging threats and the key developments in the field of cybercrime over the last year. However, more than this, it describes future threats and provides recommendations to the European police authorities to deal with these threats appropriately.
Cybercriminals are adopting new creative techniques to deceive their victims and are constantly seeking methods to avoid police detection. Some of the most used methods by cybercriminals are the following:
- Ransomware: criminals go from random attacks to attacking companies or particular individuals, where potential profits are higher.
- Mobile malware can grow as users go from their online bank to the mobile bank.
- Cybernetic attacks have become more difficult to detect. The attacks used by the wireless malware programme have turned into a standard component in the criminal industry.
- Legislation of the general norms for data protection include an obligation to notify offences within 72 hours. Criminals can try to extort violated organisations.
- The latest reason for network intrusions is the illegal acquisition of data with different ends, including phishing or fraud payment.
- DoS attacks continue to grow and the tools for launching them are easily available as a service, which allows non-qualified individuals to launch important DoS attacks.
- A continued increase is expected in the volume of social engineering attacks, but as a key component of more complex cyberattacks. In the future, the scammers of western Africa will probably have a more important role within the EU, as Africa continues to have use of the fastest growing internet on an international scale.
- Cybernetic attacks that traditionally focused on traditional financial instruments are now aimed at companies and users of crypto coins
- The increase in extortion demands and ransomware in these currencies exemplifies this change.
- Online child sex exploitation continues to be the most worrying aspect of cybercrime, with volumes of material, beyond imagination ten years ago, partly because of the growing number of small children with access to enabled devices for internet and social networks.
- This leads to an explosion of self-generated material.
- Criminals are continually looking for new ways of avoiding Police detection, including anonymization and encryption tools, everyday communication applications with end-to-end encryption, social network platforms or even within the bitcoin blocking chain. Most materials are still found on the surface of Internet, but some of the most extreme material tends to be located on hidden services that can only be accessed via the dark net.
- Live broadcasting of child sex abuse continues to be an especially difficult crime to investigate and it is likely to increase even more in the future.
- The faking of payment cards (skimming) continues to be successful inasmuch as the magnetic bands of the cards are used.
- Telecommunications fraud is an old trend, but a growing one, that involves non-cash payments.