Business Technology

Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce enters trial phase in September

4 min read

22 July 2014

A month after the UK's National Cyber Crime Agency's 'operation Tover' to disrupt CryptoLocker and Gameover Zeus botnets, SCMagazine has announced the discovery that a Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) will enter a trial phase starting 1st September.

The group, who will be based in the Hague, will be comprised of senior figures from the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the FBI, the NCA, and Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). Their aim will be to “focus on cross-border cybercrime investigations against botnets, banking Trojans and the darknet,” according to reporter Doug Drinkwater.

The taskforce will be piloted for an initial period of six months and progress of the test phase will be monitored by the European Union’s own European Cybercrime Task Force (EUCTF). 

Paul Gillen, head of operations at the European Cyber Crime Centre, said “We’re really testing this out as a learning exercise, The more you practise at doing something the better – and luckier – you get at doing it. We’re pushing an open door, the cybercrime investigation community agree that this is the only way they can work. We will have to suck it and see. We will have some success and some failures along the way, but we must work together if we are to make the internet a safe place.”

“We don’t have too many rules at the moment; we will probably discover issues as we go along and address them.”

People are finally waking up to the very real threat of cybercrime and it is encouraging that this task force is being put together – even as a trial to begin with. We asked Ross Brewer, vice president and managing director for international markets at LogRhythm, what his initial thoughts were.

“One of the challenges of investigating cybercrime is the fact that it is so widespread and multiple targets from multiple countries can be attacked at the same time. Through individual investigations, particular countries may have information that others don’t and without some kind of central collection of all the information, it can be difficult to see the full picture. 

“While the EU may be doing as much as it can to tackle cybercrime, the same cannot always be said of businesses themselves. Not only can organisations not afford to wait for someone else to protect them, but this taskforce will also only be as effective as the information it has. Enterprises and government agencies alike must ensure that they are monitoring every single piece of activity that takes place over a network in real-time. 

“With the level of insight that can be gained, anomalous activity can be identified immediately and the information gathered can be shared with necessary outside parties, like J-CAT. Businesses must act as the first line of defence and only rely on such taskforces to take on the investigation and punishment of criminals – not for protection. 

“This is definitely a positive move within the EU and, if the trial is successful, it could change the way cybercrime is investigated throughout the world. Intelligence is key; it’s simply a case of organising and investigating. If J-CAT can do this effectively, then it is likely we’ll see far more co-operation between countries and, with any luck, more cyber criminals caught and punished – but only if businesses start taking responsibility for their own networks.”