A greater proliferation of online service is enabling cyber criminals, but that is not being met with equal online law enforcement.
Speaking at the ISSE 2014 Conference in Brussels, Troels Oerting, head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and assistant director of Europol’s Operations Department, said that we need greater collaboration across the world as cyber criminals are not focused on territory.
He said that in the Danish police, he had the authority to use physical power to arrest and if he was investigating people for crime, he had the power to tap into a phone as the justification was made for a time period to make surveillance. “These are the rules in physical world, with no rules people would not act as we would expect of them,” he said.
“Imagine if there were no rules for the police and no numberplates on car, and if you saw a house that was producing cocaine inside and because of the advanced lock system, the police couldn’t get in as the walls were made of special metal. This would be a world with survival of the fittest, and this is what I am afraid of with the debate on how we will make safety and security online.
“I understand the frustration on the magnitude of surveillance and if citizens want to protect themselves from snooping: we have always spied on each other, but those you prevent from doing the job cannot do the job.”
Oerting said that the choice is where to go and the discussion on where to go is not easy, but if we assume there are four billion people online but the majority do not have a clue what they are entering into, then someone needs to protect them. “Who? If we cannot protect anyone in any state or we are left with the strongest.”
Oerting said that what has changed the world for him is that the police always had a link between a crime and the perpetrator, and while there are 12,000 police in Denmark there is not the same in cyber, as no cyber criminal will enter territory, and that is why we will see more crime and a greater distribution of crime.
“When we get real online we will create wider access for criminals and see more crime and that is why they conduct crime and fewer are getting caught,” he said. “We need better awareness, prevention and protection, and educate the public on why they should not share everything and just say yes and share.”
Oerting called for greater collaboration with relevant partners to make it unattractive to criminals regardless where they operate from.
He said: “We are ahead of the rest of the world, but how much do we teach young people who are on the internet 24/7? How do we assess software; you can tell where meat in supermarket is bred but on the internet you just download it as pals say it is good but how do we prepare for a 24/7 internet? We need discussions where get away from IT religion and instead go to reality.”
Oerting concluded by saying that we need a secure internet not for specialists, but for our family “who cannot avoid it” as in ten years time, “money will be something you look at in museums”.