In a continuing effort to combat growing and more sophisticated attacks, Europol will launch a new taskforce with the mission of tackling cybercrime in the European Union and beyond.
The new Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) has its headquarters at the Europol’s European Cybercrime Center (EC3) and Andy Archibald, the deputy director of the National Cyber Crime Unit at the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA), will lead the unit.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain are part of the J-CAT in the six-month pilot during which the taskforce will coordinate international investigations targeting malware, underground forums and other cyber threats, Europol said. Colombia and Australia have also committed to the project.
The initiative is the result of collaboration between the EC3, the FBI, the NCA and the EU Cybercrime Taskforce. Cyber liaison officers from the EC3, European Union member states, and non-EU law enforcement partners are part of the J-CAT.
“Today is a good day for those fighting cybercrime in Europe and beyond. For the first time in modern police history a multi-lateral permanent cybercrime taskforce has been established in Europe to coordinate investigations against top cybercriminal networks. The Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce will operate from secure offices in Europol’s HQ assisted by experts and analysts from the European Cybercrime Centre,” said Troels Oerting, head of the EC3. “The aim is not purely strategic, but also very operational. The goal is to prevent cybercrime, to disrupt it, catch crooks and seize their illegal profits”
The EC3 has worked in numerous international operations, including the one against the banking Trojan Shylock, and a recently disrupted global scheme targeting money transfer services in Europe. With the launch of the J-CAT, law enforcement agencies want to further strengthen anti-cybercrime efforts and make joint investigations as efficient as possible.
The new taskforce will collect data on malware development and distribution, botnets, online fraud, and cyber intrusions from national repositories, government agencies and private sector partners. The data will end up converted into actionable intelligence used in investigations. The J-CAT will also organize meetings to obtain input on online threats from computer emergency response teams (CERTs) and private companies.
“There are many challenges faced by law enforcement agencies with regards to cyber criminals and cyber attacks. This is why there needs to be a truly holistic and collaborative approach taken when tackling them,” Archibald said. “The J-CAT will, for the first time, bring together a coalition of countries across Europe and beyond to coordinate the operational response to the common current and emerging global cyber threats faced by J-CAT members.”
In June, Europol signed an agreement with the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) to help EU member states with combating and preventing cybercrime.