Crime-fighting agencies around the world are making the war against e-crime a higher priority. On Tuesday, at a conference in Tel Aviv, Interpol announced that it will open a center dedicated to cybercrime and digital security in Singapore in 2014.
The steady increase of cybercrime has inspired a wave of new regulations, stricter punishments for online law-breakers, dedicated international centers, and cyber-specific law enforcement units.
The Internet provides a unique opportunity for crimes without borders. And online crime has become a lucrative business for organized gangs, says Interpol’s president Khoo Boon Hui. Cross-border gangs commit 80 percent of online crime, he told the Associated Press, citing a London Metropolitan University study. National boundaries pose no challenge to criminals. Hui also mentioned a recent spat of 200 arrests of scammers in Malaysia, China and Taiwan—all connected to the same syndicate boss in Taiwan.
But Interpol’s center will not be the first. In fact, they're a little late in joining the e-crime fighting posse.
In March, the European Union announced its plans to build an anti-cybercrime center. The E.U.’s center will open in early 2013 in the Netherlands at Europol’s center. In addition to online gangs and fraud, it will fight sexual predators, and hackers.
Hacking can cause national security problems, especially from attacks on infrastructure or government systems (although there's vigorous debate about the severity of the threat). But there is also a tremendous amount of money at stake.
Worldwide cybercrime profits reach U.S. $388 billion a year—€21 billion in the United Kingdom alone—a European Union committee told the New York Times. That eclipses the global drug trade of marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
Its global nature makes fighting cybercrime difficult. The E.U. committee proposed mandatory jail sentences that would be standard across the E.U. According to the Times, part of the problem has been a lack of communication.
The United States committed to new measures to fight international cyber crime last year. In a strategy statement from the White House in July 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama stressed a need for national responsibility and international cooperation. The state of California, which leads the United States in per-capita victims of cybercrime, even founded its own e-crime unit in August 2011.
It's unclear how all of these new and individual teams will work together. Perhaps they will need to emulate the criminal element and its borderless cooperation.