In October 2019, more than 400 experts from law enforcement, the private sector, and academia gathered at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague, to discuss “Law enforcement in a connected future”.
The 7th Europol-INTERPOL Cybercrime Conference looked at ways of efficiently combining the expertise, resources, and insights of law enforcement, the private sector, and the academic world to make the internet a safer environment, especially in a society which is becoming increasingly dependent on digital capabilities.
Key themes discussed included:
The benefits and challenges of Artificial Intelligence for the police; the potential impact of 5G technology; cross-border access to electronic evidence; obstacles to international cooperation in cybercrime investigations; the importance of cyber capacity building; cryptocurrency trends and challenges; the use of open-source intelligence and privacy considerations.
The meetings highlighted the fact that cybercriminals are becoming increasingly audacious, moving their focus to more widespread and elaborate attacks on more substantial and more profitable targets, with ominous potential for causing more damage.
This year’s conference saw 100 organisations and more than 70 different law-enforcement agencies participate in solution-orientated debates on how to collectively tackle the practical challenges at hand.
The conclusions emphasised the need for even closer cooperation in the areas of:
- Business email compromise (BEC): while BEC continues to evolve, it continues to cause economic damage, taking advantage of segregated corporate structures and internal gaps in payment verification processes.
- The dark web: as the dark web evolves, it becomes a threat in its own right and not just a platform for the sale of illegal products such as drugs, firearms, or compromised data.
- Research and development: technology is developing at an ever-increasing pace, creating new challenges and opportunities for law enforcement. This is compounded by the data-volume challenge, legal challenges, and a constantly expanding threat surface.
- Innovation: The incorporation of innovation, as part of an effective response to crime, is not exclusively a matter for the private sector.
The conference made clear that the world of cybercrime is agile and adapting, connecting and cooperating in ways we could never have imagined just a few years ago. Law enforcement must, therefore, adapt to this ever-changing criminal environment to protect society in the cyber domain.