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10 January 2013, 11:13

European Cybercrime Centre opens for business

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Zoom EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and the head of the cybercrime center, Troels Oerting, in Brussels on Wednesday.
Source: European Commission
The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) will officially start operating on 11 January with a mission to protect European citizens and businesses from cybercrime. "Cybercriminals are smart and quick in using new technologies for criminal purposes; the EC3 will help us become even smarter and quicker to help prevent and fight their crimes" said European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström at the launch of the EC3 project ahead of the official opening of the centre at Europol, the European Police Office, in the Hague.

EC3's focus will be on illegal online activities carried out by organised criminals, especially those whose attacks target e-banking and other online financial activities, child sexual exploitation, and crimes that "affect the critical infrastructure and information systems in the EU". Other responsibilities will include analysis and review in order to identify potential threats and prepare early responses to those threats.

The head of EC3, Troels Oerting, said that cybercrime works across borders and therefore: "we need a flexible and adequate response". He describes the centre as a fusion centre, for operational investigative and forensic support, but also offering the capability to mobilise resources across EU member states in response to threats. The centre will also support relevant research and train law enforcement officers, judges and prosecutors.

The EC3 will begin work with 30 employees and is expected to add ten or more full-time posts over the year. The centre will cost around €7 million of the Europol budget for 2013. It was first announced in March 2012 and was first proposed in 2010 as part of the EU plan for homeland security.


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