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Interpol Promises New Center to Fight the E-Mob

Organized cybercrime is Interpol’s new priority target

2 min read
Interpol Promises New Center to Fight the E-Mob

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.

The Conversation (0)

Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

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