Crime will rocket in next three years, says head of European Cybercrime Centre

As more people around the world gain access to the internet, cybercrime will exacerbate, according to the cybercrime division of Europol

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'Now criminals are able to attack anyone, anywhere, anytime – without moving an inch'


The head of the European Cybercrime Centre, an organisation of the European Union attached to Europol, has warned businesses that crime will rise dramatically as more people worldwide gain access to the internet.

Making a keynote speech at the Check Point Experience in Barcelona, Toels Oerting told delegates that they “ain’t seen nothing yet”.

He predicted that cybercrime will rocket as the number of internet uses rises from 2.7 billion to an estimated 4 billion by 2017, noting that some criminal gangs had already moved to set up operations in emerging regions like Africa.

“It’s good for all of us that we have a strong and free internet, but I see the negative side,” said Oerting, who has worked in the Danish police for 35 years.

“There has always been a geographical link between the criminal and the crime scene, but now criminals are able to attack anyone, anywhere, anytime – without moving an inch.”

>See also: Check Point forms seven-strong alliance to fight cybercrime

Oerting said that new forms of organised “cyber facilitated crime” present a major challenge for businesses and the police. A recent attack on the Bank of Oman – where criminals manipulated a cloud network to set unlimited credit on 60 cloned credit cards – was one worrying example.

 “That single attack on the Bank of Oman saw $45 million stolen in just one hour and 52 minutes,” he said. “In comparison, $35million was stolen in all bank robberies in the US last year.”

Warning that major European companies were now facing “daily attacks” on their systems, Oerting said organised gangs were regularly hacking into legitimate systems to support illegal activity.

He referenced a Colombian drug-smuggling operation, which manipulated a shipping company’s network in order to safely transit a consignment of drugs past customs and into the European Union.

Oerting said it was vital that businesses and individuals took responsibility for buying good quality security products to minimise the risk of such attacks from cybercriminals.

“We see too often that people are using cheap and easy security solutions. There are no free lunches. If you are getting something for free then you are the product.”

Paul Garbett is reporting from Check Point Experience in Barcelona. Follow live tweets at @informationage