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RSN™ Special Report: Europol Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) 2018

Europol Warns You Could Become A Cybercrime Victim

From ransomware through to cryptocurrency scams, Europol says it wants to stop criminals from making you a victim.

Europol has warned of 15 ways in which people can fall prey to cybercriminals as it launched a report on the dangers of the web.

The report, the fifth annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA), is being presented at the Interpol cybercrime conference in Singapore.

Europol IOCTA 2018 Summary

For the fifth year in a row, Europol has produced the Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA). The aim of this Assessment is to provide a comprehensive overview of the current, as well as anticipated future threats and trends of crimes conducted and/or facilitated online. While current events demonstrate how cybercrime continues to evolve, this year’s IOCTA shows us how law enforcement has to battle both innovative as well as persistent forms of cybercrime. Many areas of the report, therefore, build upon previous editions, which emphasizes the longevity of the many facets of cybercrime. It is also a testimony to an established cybercrime business model, where there is no need to change a successful modus operandi. The report also highlights the many challenges associated with the fight against cybercrime, both from a law enforcement and, where applicable, a private sector perspective.

Europol described the report as offering “a unique law enforcement view of the emerging threats and key developments in the field of cybercrime over the last year.”

It added that the assessment “describes anticipated future threats” and “only has one goal in mind – to stop cybercriminals from making you their next victim.”

Crime Priorities

Crime Priority: Cyber-Dependent Crime

Cyber-dependent crime can be defined as any crime that can only be committed using computers, computer networks or other forms of information communication technology (ICT). In essence, without the internet criminals could not commit these crimes. It includes such activity as the creation and spread of malware, hacking to steal sensitive personal or industry data and denial of service attacks to cause financial and/or reputational damage.

Key Findings

  • Ransomware remains the key malware threat in both law enforcement and industry reporting.
  • Cryptomining malware is expected to become a regular, low-risk revenue stream for cybercriminals.
  • The use of exploit kits (EKs) as a means of infection continues to decline, with spam, social engineering and newer methods such as RDP brute-forcing coming to the fore.
  • New legislation relating to data breaches will likely lead to greater reporting of breaches to law enforcement and increasing cases of cyber-extortion.

Crime Priority: Child Sexual Exploitation Online

Online child sexual exploitation (CSE) continues to be the worst aspect of cybercrime. Whereas child sexual abuse existed before the advent of the internet, the online dimension of this crime has enabled offenders to interact with each other online and obtain Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM) in volumes that were unimaginable ten years ago. The growing number of increasingly younger children with access to Internet-enabled devices and social media enables offenders to reach out to children in ways that are simply impossible in an offline environment. This trend has considerable implications for the modi operandi in the online sexual exploitation of children.

Key Findings

  • The amount of detected online Child Sexual Exploitation Material continues to grow, creating serious challenges for investigations and victim identification efforts.
  • As technologies are becoming easier to access and use, the use of anonymization and encryption tools by offenders to avoid law enforcement detection is more and more common.
  • Children increasingly have access to the internet and social media platforms at a younger age, resulting in a growing number of cases of online sexual coercion and extortion of minors.
  • Live streaming of child sexual abuse remains a particularly complex crime to investigate. Streaming of self-generated material has significantly increased.

Crime Priority: Payment Fraud

Payment fraud which are considered well known as they have been reported on in previous editions as well as new developments in the area of payment fraud. New is a relative concept since criminals generally vary their existing modus operandi. Such variations, however, do introduce different threats. Therefore, well-known and new developments are included in a complementary manner, based both on what law enforcement agencies have witnessed in their investigations as well as what private sector parties have observed.

Key Findings

  • The threat from skimming continues and shall do as long as payment cards