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Europol Launches New Cybercrime Taskforce

Europol announced on Monday the launch of a new taskforce with the mission to tackle cybercrime in the European Union and beyond.

Europol announced on Monday the launch of a new taskforce with the mission to tackle cybercrime in the European Union and beyond.

The new Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) is headquartered at the Europol’s European Cybercrime Center (EC3) and will be lead by Andy Archibald, the deputy director of the National Cyber Crime Unit at the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA).

According to Europol, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain are part of the J-CAT in the six-month pilot during which the taskforce will coordinate international investigations targeting malware, underground forums and other cyber threats. Colombia and Australia have also committed to the project.

The initiative is the result of collaboration between the EC3, the FBI, the NCA and the EU Cybercrime Taskforce. Cyber liaison officers from the EC3, European Union member states, and non-EU law enforcement partners are part of the J-CAT.

“Today is a good day for those fighting cybercrime in Europe and beyond. For the first time in modern police history a multi-lateral permanent cybercrime taskforce has been established in Europe to coordinate investigations against top cybercriminal networks. The Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce will operate from secure offices in Europol’s HQ assisted by experts and analysts from the European Cybercrime Centre,” commented Troels Oerting, head of the EC3. “The aim is not purely strategic, but also very operational. The goal is to prevent cybercrime, to disrupt it, catch crooks and seize their illegal profits”

The EC3 has been involved in numerous international operations, including the one against the banking Trojan Shylock, and a recently disrupted global scheme targeting money transfer services in Europe. With the launch of the J-CAT, law enforcement agencies want to further strengthen anti-cybercrime efforts and make joint investigations as efficient as possible.

The new taskforce with collect data on malware development and distribution, botnets, online fraud, and cyber intrusions from national repositories, government agencies and private sector partners. The data will be converted into actionable intelligence that will be used in investigations. The J-CAT will also organize meetings to obtain input on online threats from computer emergency response teams (CERTs) and private companies.

“There are many challenges faced by law enforcement agencies with regards to cyber criminals and cyber attacks. This is why there needs to be a truly holistic and collaborative approach taken when tackling them,” said Archibald. “The J-CAT will, for the first time, bring together a coalition of countries across Europe and beyond to coordinate the operational response to the common current and emerging global cyber threats faced by J-CAT members.”

In June, Europol announced the signing of an agreement with the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) in an effort to help EU member states with combating and preventing cybercrime.

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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