It is my pleasure to introduce the 2018 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA), not only as it is the fifth anniversary edition of the report, but also my first as the Executive Director of Europol.
The IOCTA has been and continues to be a flagship strategic product for Europol. It provides a unique law enforcement focused assessment of the emerging threats and key developments in the field of cybercrime over the last year. This is of course only possible thanks to the invaluable contributions from European law enforcement and the ongoing support we receive from our partners in private industry, the financial sector and academia.
Each year the report highlights cyber-attacks of an unprecedented scope and scale. This year is no different, demonstrating the continuing need for greater cooperation and collaboration within our law enforcement community, an ethos at the very heart of Europol’s mission. The report also brings to our attention previously underestimated threats, such as telecommunication frauds, demonstrating the necessity for law enforcement to constantly adapt and develop and the need for continued training in all aspects of cybercrime.
While some cyber-attacks continue to grab headlines with their magnitude, other areas of cybercrime are no less of a threat or concern. Payment fraud continues to emphasise significant financial losses, criminal gains and the facilitation of other crime; while online child sexual exploitation epitomises the worst aspects of the internet and highlights the ever present danger to our children from those who would seek to exploit or abuse them.
This year’s report also describes a number of key legislative and technological developments, such as the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Network and Information Security (NIS) directive and 5G technology. While these developments are positive, all will in some way impact on our ability as law enforcement officers to effectively investigate cybercrime. This emphasises the need for law enforcement to engage with policy makers, legislators and industry, in order to have a voice in how our society develops.
The IOCTA also celebrates the many successes of law enforcement in the fight against cybercrime. As long as European Union law enforcement continues to grow and evolve and to forge new bonds with global partners in both the public and private sector, I am confident that we can continue to report such successes for years to come.
Catherine De Bolle, Executive Director of Europol
For the fifth year in a row, Europol has produced the Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA). The aim of this Assessment is to provide a comprehensive overview of the current, as well as anticipated future threats and trends of crimes conducted and/or facilitated online. While current events demonstrate how cybercrime continues to evolve, this year’s IOCTA shows us how law enforcement has to battle both innovative as well as persistent forms of cybercrime. Many areas of the report therefore build upon previous editions, which emphasises the longevity of the many facets of cybercrime. It is also a testimony to an established cybercrime business model, where there is no need to change a successful modus operandi. The report also highlights the many challenges associated with the fight against cybercrime, both from a law enforcement and, where applicable, a private sector perspective.