A call for EU to step up fight against organised online crime

6th October, 2020

Europol’s 2020 cybercrime report has highlighted the  urgent need for the EU to step up the fight against organised online crime.

The report’s seventh annual edition, titled Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) 2020,  fuelled “by a wealth of readily available data, as well as a Cybercrime-as-a-Service (CaaS) community, it has become easier for criminals to carry out highly targeted attacks”.


Some highlights:

  • Cybercrime remains among the most dynamic forms of crime encountered by law enforcement in the EU.
  • While ransomware, business email compromise and social engineering are familiar cybercrime threats, their execution evolves constantly and makes these criminal activities more complex to detect and to investigate.
  • Ransomware in particular remains a priority threat encountered by cyber investigators across the EU.
  • Subscriber identity module (SIM) swapping is one of the new key trends this year, having caused significant losses and attracted considerable attention from law enforcement.
  • Cryptocurrencies continue to facilitate payments for various forms of cybercrime, as developments evolve with respect to privacy-oriented crypto coins and service.

Criminal abuse of the dark web

The report also mentioned that the dark web environment has remained volatile, lifecycles of dark web market places have shortened, and no clear dominant market has risen over the past year compared to previous years to fill the vacuum left by the takedowns in 2019.

  • The nature of the dark web community at administrator-level shows how adaptive it is under challenging times, including more effective cooperation in the search for better security solutions and safe dark web interaction.
  • There has been an increase in the use of privacy enhanced cryptocurrencies and an emergence of privacy-enhanced coinjoin concepts, such as Wasabi and Samurai.
  • Surface web e-commerce sites and encrypted communication platforms offer an additional dimension to dark web trading to enhance the overall business model.

Europol shared that the value of being able to access data of criminal communication on an encrypted network is perhaps the most effective illustration of how encrypted data can provide law enforcement with crucial leads beyond the area of cybercrime.

For more, click: https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/covid-19-sparks-upward-trend-in-cybercrime