European Commission wants a cybercrime centre
The European Commission says it wants a Cybercrime Centre which is says will help protect citizens and businesses against online credit and bank fraud, smartphone hacking and large-scale attacks on public services or infrastructure. "We can't let cybercriminals disrupt our digital lives", said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs, announcing the unit. She added, "A European Cybercrime Centre within Europol will become a hub for cooperation in defending an internet that is free, open and safe."
The unit's investigators are being asked to take on the prevention of crime affecting e-banking and online booking activities and work on the protection of social network profiles and fighting online identity theft. They will also focus on "cybercrimes which cause serious harm to their victims", a category which includes child sexual exploitation and cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure.
It plans to achieve these many goals by warning the member states of the EU of any threats and alert them to weaknesses in their online defences. The Commission also plans for them to identify criminal networks and prominent offenders operating on the internet and provide operational support in investigations.
If approved by the Europol management board, the new unit is expected to start operation with an initial 30 employees in January 2013 and operate out of Europol, the European police agency, situated in the Hague.
According to the European Commission, cybercrime costs the UK £27 billion a year. The bulk of that loss, £21.7 billion, is borne by businesses, with £3.1 billion lost by citizens and £2.2 billion lost by the government.
- Q&A on the proposed centre from the European Commission