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Europol and ICSPA launch cybersecurity consultation

Major investigation will look to counter emerging industrialised cybercrime threats

Europol and ICSPA launch cybersecurity consultation
Project 2020 will aim to assess cybercrime threats and ways to counter them.

Europol and the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA) are to launch a major international consultation into cybercrime and the future threat landscape.

The ICSPA, a business led, not-for-profit organization, and Europol, the European Union's criminal intelligence agency, will steer investigation, called Project 2020, to analyse emerging patterns of cybercrime, and advise how to combat them.

The investigation will look at the next eight years, and will draw in a wide-ranging body of interest groups from law enforcement, government and industry, to pool intelligence. Project 2020 has been established to combat what ICSPA described as the industrialisation of cybercrime, where cybercriminals are able to call on a large, commercialised infrastructure of criminal service providers to support their attacks.

"During the past few years increasingly sophisticated and highly targeted cyber attacks have resulted in significant losses - not only financial  but also, potentially even more worryingly, of intellectual property in defence and aerospace, oil and petrochemicals, financial services, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals," saidCSPA chief executive John Lyons. "Cybercrime is notoriously difficult to tackle given the international structure and capabilities of some of the criminal networks we see in operation. It used to be inherently difficult to combine international efforts to fight cybercrime; this Project will for the first time, bring together experts globally, with a remit to identify and fix weaknesses in our systems before they come to market."

Project 2020 will deliver policy briefs and white papers on evolving threat scenarios, and establish a monitoring mechanism to assist organisations that combat cybercrime.

A number of organisations have already committed to the consultation, including credit card companies, online retailers, cyber security companies including Trend Micro, fraud prevention services companies and logistics companies. Also contributing to the study will be the City of London Police and the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2  and the International Association of Public Prosecutors.

Dr Victoria Baines, Strategic Advisor on Cybercrime at Europol, will be project director for Project 2020. She commented: "With two-thirds of the world yet to join the internet, we can expect to see new criminals, new victims and new kinds of threats. Cybercrime evolves as quickly as technology, and technology develops so quickly that the unthinkable becomes mainstream before we can imagine.  Furthermore, criminals today can still surprise us as they move from region to region around the world. We have the groups around the table who can make sure this will no longer be the case."

T/Cdr Steve Head of the City of London Police explained his Force's reasons for joining Project 2020: "Cybercrime is becoming pervasive in society, threatening the technological, financial and social fabric of developed and developing countries. Confronting and combating it now and in the future presents one of the most difficult and important challenges of our time and can only succeed by the international community working as one. Project 2020 is laying down a blueprint for how this can be achieved and the City of London Police is committed to pooling its own expertise with fellow members to create the systems and policies that will significantly enhance cyber security around the world."

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