By the Numbers: Europe Reacts Swiftly to Cybercrime, Establishes New European Cybercrime Center

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The European Commission is establishing a European Cybercrime Center within the year.

Located in the Hague, and housed alongside Europol, the pan-European police force, the new cybercrime unit will focus on preventing credit fraud, bank fraud, identity theft, social networking fraud, and similar attacks.

The new center will also respond to queries from cybercrime investigators, prosecutors, and judges, as well as the private sector on specific technical and forensic issues.

The European Commission has released the following facts and figures to support its belief that cybercrime has become a “global phenomenon” with wide-reaching negative effects:

  • The volume of and the damage caused by cybercrime is rising. The extent of cyber-attacks affecting public and private information systems clearly increased in 2011 and early 2012.
  • Regular advances in information technology make it difficult to foresee what techniques cybercriminals will employ in the future. However, it seems safe to believe that both private and commercial IT users will continue to be increasingly targeted.
  • Another important trend is the rising prevalence of smartphone hacking. Studies and estimations suggest upward criminal trends in many illegal online activities.
  • In 2011 Norton estimated that the total global cost of cybercrime was between $114 to $388 billion.
  • According to the German Criminal Police Office statistics, in Germany, the recorded cases of phishing in online banking (online spying activity that makes users reveal passwords or sensitive data) increased from just less than 2,000 incidents in 2008 to over 5,000 in 2010.
  • In the UK, according to the Garlik UK Cybercrime report, bank account takeovers increased by 207% between 2008 and 2009, with total losses reaching €65,9 million.
  • In 2008 there were almost 44,000 phishing websites targeting UK banks.
  • There are 150,000 viruses and other types of malicious code in circulation, and, in 2009, 148,000 computers were estimated to be compromised per day, according to Europol.
  • Between 250,000 and 600,000 Facebook accounts are blocked every day, after various types of suspected hacking attempts.

 

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.