With the European Commission laying out plans on Wednesday (28th March) to open a centre in 2013 which will combat illegal online activity and shield the EU against cyber-crime, it begs the question; could internet crime really ever become a thing of the past?
Cybercrime costs global businesses an estimated $380 billion a year, leaving both businesses and consumers out of pocket. With over a third of the EU’s 500 million citizens banking online, and an estimated $8 trillion changing hands globally each year in e-commerce, it is not surprising that international institutions take cybercrime very seriously.
To help combat crime, the centre will fuse information from open sources, private industry, police and academia. It will also serve as a knowledge base for national police in the member states, and it will pool European cybercrime expertise and training efforts. Additionally, it will be able to respond to queries from cybercrime investigators, prosecutors and judges, as well as the private sector, on specific technical and forensic issues.
These services will without doubt help prevent occurrences of cybercrime. Information sharing is key to keeping up to speed with the latest hackings. However, as technology that cybercriminals use becomes faster and more sophisticated, it is going to get harder and harder for crime prevention bodies such as the EU Cybercrime Unit to keep up to speed with the latest cybercrime activities.
Additionally, as a recent InfoSecurity article highlights, the centre will have a budget of just over €3m. This budget is rather underwhelming when you compare it to the recently announced Oxford University Cyber Security Centre. With a budget in excess of £5 million, this represents a 67% on the EU centre.
It is clear that the EU Cybercrime Centre is not going to suddenly eradicate Cybercrime off the face of the earth. However, as mentioned earlier, the knowledge sharing aspect to the centre could be key to reducing cybercrime. By providing a focal point for all of the existing national and private cybercrime centres within Europe and further afield, the centre will undoubtedly help unify those serious about tackling Cybercrime – as long as it doesn’t become a target for hackers itself!