At the end of 2010, Europol's Director Rob Wainwright revealed the agency's plans to create a European cybercrime center whose goal would be to centralize reports about illicit online activities. That day has finally come.
The European Cybercrime Centre, or EC3, will be officially opened on Friday, January 11, and it will be based at Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.
The new center’s main role is to aid the European Union in the fight against cybercrime and to protect citizens and businesses against threats from cyberspace.
“EU citizens and businesses require an open, free and transparent cyberspace so we need to protect the online world just as we do the off-line world. EC3 will be a valuable tool for the EU and its Member States to help coordinate and support efforts that keep the Net safe from criminals,” says Troels Oerting, Head of EC3.
The EC3 will particularly focus on crimes carried out by organized groups against financial institutions and their customers, ones that affect critical infrastructures and information systems, and online exploitation of children.
Europol is aware that if it wants to efficiently tackle cybercrime, it must employ methods that are at least as sophisticated as the ones utilized by criminals. That’s why EC3 will rely on information not only from open sources, but also the private industry, police and academia.
Another one of the center’s purposes is to serve as a knowledge base for police agencies from EU member states.
“The Cybercrime Centre (EC3) will focus our efforts and provide a strong boost to the EU's capacity to fight cybercrime,” EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström – who will be present at the opening – said.
“We need to reduce cybercrime activities, contain the threat and ensure the digital environment remains a secure place for our citizens and businesses. This is key for the EU's internet-based economy.”