Cybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks. In The COVID Era
The exceptional COVID-19 crisis has fuelled the increase of cybercrime in all its forms, while grey infrastructure serves to facilitate the proliferation of crime
The IOCTA is Europol’s flagship strategic product that provides a law enforcement-focused assessment of evolving threats and key developments in the area of cybercrime. In previous versions of the IOCTA, it was highlighted that the persistent nature of various modi operandi meant that changes of cybercrime threats were rarer than commonly perceived. Last year’s IOCTA captured the landscape by reflecting on how cybercrime is an evolution rather than a revolution.
In this year’s report, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains visible. The accelerated digitalization related to the pandemic has significantly influenced the development of a number of cyber threats, including:
- Ransomware Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's personal data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system so that it is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion. It encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem – and difficult to trace digital currencies such as paysafecard or Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan virus disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, one high-profile example, the WannaCry worm, traveled automatically between computers without user interaction. affiliate programs enable a larger group of criminals to attack big corporations and public institutions by threatening them with multi-layered extortion methods such as DDoS attacks.
- Mobile malware Short for "malicious software," this term means computer viruses and other types of programs that cybercriminals use to disrupt or access your computer, typically with the aim of gathering sensitive files and accounts. evolves with criminals trying to circumvent additional security measures such as two-factor authentication.
- Online shopping has led to a steep increase in online fraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements.
A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim..
- Explicit self-generated material is an increasing concern and is also distributed for profit.
- Criminals continue to abuse legitimate services such as VPNs, encrypted communication services and cryptocurrencies.
For this year’s IOCTA, the Europol project team surveyed all European Union Member States (EU MS), a limited number of third countries, members of Europol’s advisory groups and internal specialists.
These were asked about what changes had specifically taken place in the threat landscape over the past 12 months. By limiting themselves to four questions about the past 12 months, focused on changes in the prevalence and modi operandi of cybercrime, Europol wanted to ensure that their approach focused on the most relevant developments.
The inclusion of input from trusted partners in the private sector through our Advisory Group members also assisted in the development of a comprehensive overview of the most up-to-date cybercrime threat landscape.