Why the agreement between ENISA and EUROPOL is strategic?

Pierluigi Paganini June 29, 2014

ENISA and Europol have signed an agreement with the intent to facilitate the cooperation in the fight to the cyber criminal activities.

The fight to the cybercrime needs a joint effort of governments, law enforcement agencies and private entities. Cyber threats are becoming even more sophisticated and bad actors behind them are structured in efficient organizations difficult to track and dismantle.
Cybercrime is responsible for huge financial losses, McAfee recently issued a new report estimating the global cost of cybercrime, according the company we are facing with a lucrative industry that despite partial data could be costing the world economy as much as $575 billion annually. Let me add that this could be the tip of the iceberg due to the difficulty to count all losses related to illicit activities, anyway the economic crisis is advantaging criminal ecosystem.
To respond to the emergency ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) and Europol (European Police Office) have signed this week a strategic cooperation agreement, the intent is to facilitate the cooperation between the agencies through the sharing of information useful in the fight against cybercrime.
“This agreement is an important step in the fight against ever more skilled cyber criminals who are investing more time, money and people on targeted attacks. Our agreement demonstrates that we are highly committed to jointly contributing within our respective areas of expertise, and to support each other’s work in the quest to make Europe a safer place onlineCybercrime is estimated to cost the global economy more than 400 billion dollars annually1, by cooperating more closely together and sharing expertise, we strengthen Europe’s capacity to combat cyber criminals.” is a joint statement issued by the Executive Director of ENISA, Professor Udo Helmbrecht, and Europol Director, Rob Wainwright, issued a joint statement.
The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) of Europol and ENISA will support the EU Member States and the EU institutions in preventing and combating the cybercrime.
enisa EUROPOL signature
As explained in the Press Release issued by ENISA, the agreement does not cover the exchange of personal data, but it will include:
  • the exchange of specific knowledge and expertise,
  • elaboration of general situational reports,
  • reports resulting from strategic analyses and best practice,
  • strengthening capacity building through training and awareness raising, to safeguard network and information security at EU level.

ENISA and Europol have a long-standing collaboration, ENISA is part of the EC3 Programme Board and respectively EC3 is part of ENISA’s Permanent Stakeholders Group. In the past, the agencies have collaborated to disseminate information on principal  threats, to arrange cyber exercises such as CyberEurope and of course for enhancing CERT/law enforcement cooperation through different events.

The agreement reinforces the commitment is the fight against cyber criminal, a battle that involve different countries with different jurisdictions, for this reason it is essential a joint effort to investigate and prosecute the cyber crimes.

The activities that both agencies daily carry on need resources and skills, information sharing on cyber threats is vital to persecute illicit activities that in many cases go unpunished. Recent successes in the fight to the organized crime like the takeover of the Zeus Gameover gang  demonstrates the efficiency of a multinational effort, and the agreement signed by the agencies is an important message to IT security community and to the cybercrime itself.

Recently I wrote of another agreement between the NYPD, the FBI and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), who have announced the formation of a unified Financial Cyber Crimes Task Force, the accord is another demonstration of the need to contrast cyber crime with a joint effort between various law enforcement agencies.

Unfortunately the political and diplomatic relationship between governments have a serious impact on relations between countries and influence the collaboration and the information sharing between states.

It must be promoted the awareness that cybercrime is a shared threat that must be fought with a multinational effort and the agreement between ENISA and EUROPOL in an important step in the right direction.

There is no time to waste, cybercrime is already exploiting the gray zones in the local law frameworks and the lack of collaboration between many law enforcement agencies.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  ENISA, EUROPOL)

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