Disruptive technologies – their impact on crime and its prevention

Disruptive TechnologiesEuropol has just published a new report aimed at triggering discussion about ‘disruptive technologies’, and the need for innovation and strategic foresight in EU policing.

Disruptive technologies are fundamentally altering the way we live, work and relate to one another.  They provide criminals with new ways to pursue their illegal goals, but also equip law enforcement with powerful tools in the fight against crime.

To remain relevant and effective, it is necessary for law enforcement authorities to invest in understanding and actively pursuing new, innovative solutions. The new Europol Report, entitled ‘Do criminals dream of electric sheep: how technology shapes the future of crime and law enforcement’ will serve as a basis for future discussions between Europol, EU law enforcement and their stakeholders.

Europol’s Executive Director, Catherine De Bolle, said: “Europol’s strategy sets out our ambition to firmly establish Europol as an innovator in law enforcement at the European level. It is no longer good enough to be reactive. Our ability to predict which emerging technologies criminals will turn to next is instrumental to our mission of keeping EU citizens safe. We hope to start a discussion with law enforcement in the Member States and other stakeholders.”

Some of the emerging technologies include Artificial Intelligence (AI), quantum computing, 5G, alternative decentralised networks and cryptocurrencies, 3D printing and biotech. These are set to have a profound impact on the criminal landscape and the ability of law enforcement authorities to respond to emerging threats. The disruption comes from the convergence between these new technologies, the previously unseen use cases and applications, and the challenges posed by existing legal and regulatory frameworks.

The report aims to identify the security threats associated with this and points to ways for law enforcement to use the opportunities brought by these technologies to combat crime and terrorism. It also highlights the pivotal role of the private sector and the importance of law enforcement to engage more with these actors. Furthermore, it is of paramount importance that the voice of law enforcement is heard when legislative and regulatory frameworks are being discussed and developed, in order to have an opportunity to address their concerns and needs, particularly with regard to the accessibility of date and lawful interception.

in an age of rapid digital technological development Europol can deliver additional value by increasingly engaging in expertise coordination and collective resource management, which avoids unnecessary duplication of resources and expertise at national level. The Europol Strategy 2020+ set out for the organisation to support the Member States by becoming a central point for law enforcement innovation and research.

Download the report here

As a private sector partner of Europol, EAST provides trusted platforms where experts from law enforcement and the private sector can routinely come together to focus on current and evolving criminal threats, and what can be done to counter them.  The platforms are:  EAST National Member meetings; the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF); the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF); and the EAST Expert Group on ATM & ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP).

EAST participates at Europol Training on Payment Card Fraud Forensics

card fraud forensics EAST Development Director Rui Carvalho presented at the fifth edition of the Europol Training Course on Payment Card Fraud Forensics and Investigations at the Spanish National Police Academy in Ávila, Spain. His talk gave an overview of EAST, shared the latest statistics and trends on terminal fraud in Europe from the perspective of the private sector, and covered trends in payments, including an overview of regional and global e-wallets.

The Europol training, which ran from 8 to 12 July 2019, covered a wide range of topics  in the area of payment fraud, including online skimming, logical attacks on ATMs, card data analysis, cryptocurrencies, social engineering attacks and loyalty card fraud.

The training course was attended by 53 Investigators, forensic experts, and accredited trainers from 25 countries in the European Union, as well as from Colombia, Moldova and the United States.  Presentations were given by Europol staff and by key private sector organisations (including EAST). Since the first training in 2015 over 250 international students have benefited from the training programme, which has been supported by EAST from the outset.

This kind of event highlights the importance of close cooperation between the public and private sectors in the fight against cybercrime and all emerging threats in the field of payment card fraud. Such cooperation is enhanced by regular training, and by shared updates on investigative techniques and the improvement of forensic capabilities.

EAST Attends Europol’s Cryptocurrencies Conference

Rui Carvalho, Chair of the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF), attended the 5th Virtual Currencies Conference organised by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) in The Hague (from 19-21 June 2018). Over 300 participants from 40 countries attended the event, which focused on cryptocurrencies and how to foster the legitimate use of this virtual monetary system which is often abused by hackers, international drug dealers and the money movers of organised crime.

While the majority of participants came from law enforcement agencies and public prosecutors’ offices, key experts from well-known cryptocurrency services were also in attendance – the companies, who work closely with law enforcement agencies, foster the legitimate use of virtual currencies by implementing strong Know Your Customer (KYC) policies. Private sector participants included Bitcoin.de, Bitfinex, BitPanda, Bitstamp, BitPay, Blockchain.info, CEX, Coinfloor, Coinhouse, Cryptopia, Cubits, Kraken, LocalBitcoins, OKCoin, SpectroCoin and Xapo.

This year twelve operational case studies were presented, where suspects were detected through cryptocurrency tracing, including phishing incidents, DDoS extortion, take downs of dark web marketplaces and malicious cryptocurrency mining. The legitimate use of blockchain technologies was also discussed, including the use of cryptocurrencies for trading/investment activities, payment methods for goods and services and as a store of value.

In order to practically demonstrate the benefits of the tamper-proof decentralised ledger technology, all speakers received Europol’s certificates permanently stored and fully traceable within Bitcoin blockchain. Europol therefore became the first law enforcement organisation to award active participants blockchain validated certificates.