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Centre to shield EU against online crime launched in The Hague

posted 11 Jan 2013, 08:23 by Mpelembe   [ updated 11 Jan 2013, 08:25 ]

A new EU cybercentre based at the Europol headquarters in The Hague opens to combat illegal online activity that costs global business an estimated $380 billion a year.

THE HAGUETHE NETHERLANDS (JANUARY 11, 2013) (EBS) -  A new EU cybercentre to combat illegal online activity, conduct investigations into online fraud, online child abuse and other cybercrimes was launched on Friday (January 11) in The Hague.

The new centre is located inside the headquarters of the pan-European police force Europol and aims to fight a rapidly expanding enterprise that costs global business an estimated $380 billion a year.

"Some people might ask why we need a cybercrime centre in Europe. The short answer is to protect the open and free Internet," said Cecilia Malmstrom, European commissioner for home affairs, as she inaugurated the new centre.

The centre, proposed by the European Commission, will focus on fraud involving the online theft of credit card and bank details, while working to co-ordinate the protection of EU businesses and citizens from organized online crime.

According to a recent Eurobarometer study, internet users remain concerned about online security. 89% of them avoid disclosing personal information over the internet and 74% agree that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime has increased in the past year.

"We will able to give an overview to the member states on crime; we will give operational support to cases, give forensic support and we will also help them with capacity building and outreach," Operating Head of the European Cybercrime Centre, Troels Oerting, said.

Over a third of the EU's 500 million citizens bank online, and an estimated $8 trillion changes hands globally each year in e-commerce, the Commission said.

Reports of cybercrime are rising year-on-year, with groups of hackers developing ever more ingenious methods of by-passing corporate IT security systems and firewalls.

Online fraud is estimated to be worth as much as $388 billion a year globally, according to a report by Norton, the anti-virus software provider.

In 2011, security experts McAfee unearthed the biggest series of cyber-attacks to date, involving the infiltration of the networks of 72 global organizations, including the United Nations, the International Olympic Committee, and the U.S. government.