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Hunting crooks on a digital playground

Chris Player | May 28, 2015
Interpol relies heavily on industry partners to tackle increasing challenge of cybercrime

Interpol digital crime officer national cyber review management, Steve Honiss
Interpol digital crime officer national cyber review management, Steve Honiss

In a world filled with cybercriminals unimpeded by national borders, Interpol digital crime manager, Steve Honiss, and personnel at the new Interpol Global complex for innovation in Singapore are tasked with thwarting the efforts of these international gangs.

Honiss is on secondment from New Zealand Police where he created the first New Zealand Cybercrime Operation System and headed up the New Zealand Cyber Security Review Panel.

Interpol is a different organisation than the national or state police forces around the world. Unlike its local counterparts, it acts as more of a support network for collaboration and tracking international crime.

It has spent much of its energy and resources pursuing transnational organised crime groups and in the last 15 years begun to focus heavily on cybercrime organisations.

This is not surprising considering the cost of global cybercrime and the impact it has on millions around the world. Trend Micro estimated that in 2014, cybercrime cost an estimated $US456 billion and is expected to rise to over $US2 trillion by 2019.

Honiss made the point that the activities of many of these organisations are not limited to cybercrime. Many of them engage in money laundering, human trafficking, prostitution, extortion and drugs.

In the last six years, Honiss said the Internet had significantly changed the way traditional and indeed new types of crimes had been committed.

"The World Wide Web has made it much easier for organised crime groups to operate and much more difficult for police forces to track and apprehend them."

"Without possessing much technical skill, anyone could get on to Google, complete a few hours of research and be able to purchase a set of credentials such as stolen credit card details.

"You could then use those credentials to purchase the services of an organised crime group to carry out a DDoS attack against a competitor.

"It has become far more achievable to the average person, with no hacking skills, to carry out this sort of activity.

"We talk about it as Crime-as-a-Service. That's how easy it has become."

Honiss said that in the face of the evolving and expanding cybercrime market, Interpol and its 190 member countries have had to increase scope and capabilities and have done this through partnerships with global IT security firms such as Trend Micro and Kaspersky.

Interpol and many of its industry partners could never hope to individually match the resources of transnational criminal organisations. The global policing organisation has joined forces with a number of security vendors including Trend Micro and Kaspersky Labs to build a new centre for tracking cybercrime across the globe.


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