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30 March 2012 - Media release

‘World must better prepare itself for emerging cybercrime threats’, INTERPOL Chief tells prestigious meeting in India

NEW DELHI, India ‒ The Head of INTERPOL has said that there is ‘a dramatic discrepancy’ between the immediacy of Internet communications and current measures to support law enforcement’s fight against cybercrime.

Speaking on Friday at the D.P. Kohli Memorial Lecture, attended by A.P. Singh, Director of India’s Criminal Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and Shri V. Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said that inadequate legislation and lack of resources were major impediments to fighting cybercrime.

“Even though a real breakthrough in fighting cybercrime might be possible once a substantial number of countries have updated their legislation and when more countries devote resources for police to develop greater technical expertise, INTERPOL and the world cannot wait for such an idyllic situation,” said Secretary General Noble.

“That is why INTERPOL is working with its member countries to devise innovative approaches against cybercriminals,” added the Head of INTERPOL.

With cybercrime not even officially recognized in many countries, Mr Noble cited how terrorists of the cyber age can now exploit advanced technologies, such as the terrorists behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks who used encrypted communications via mobile devices to coordinate their attacks.

“Until countries update their national legislations and agree to develop a legal framework to facilitate international cybercrime investigations, police will therefore need to remain creative in working with their colleagues from abroad,” said Mr Noble.

In this respect the audience heard how INTERPOL was working with its 190 member countries for a coordinated approach in targeting cybercriminals, as highlighted by the recent INTERPOL-coordinated Operation Unmask in South America and Europe against the hacker group Anonymous, which, Mr Noble reminded the audience, has threatened to shut down the Internet on Saturday 31 March as a form of protest.

To overcome some of the legal hurdles to a proper international investigation, INTERPOL decided in Operation Unmask to directly involve the prosecutors in the countries concerned to ensure that available evidence would be admissible in court. This allowed for the shared information to be included in the ongoing investigations.

To date, 31 persons have been arrested since the launch of the Operation Unmask in February, with hundreds of items of IT equipment and mobile phones seized, as well as payment cards and cash.

The INTERPOL chief also highlighted a case where INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in New Delhi received information from the INTERPOL NCB in Luxembourg concerning individuals in Kerala State believed to be trawling websites depicting child sexual abuse.

The information ‒ including names, IP and full postal addresses of persons from across the state ‒ was passed on to the Kerala State Police, who acted swiftly upon the intelligence and arrested 20 individuals who were regularly frequenting child sexual abuse websites.

With India having implemented one of the most advanced legislations regarding online child sexual abuse, this success story, concluded Secretary General Noble, demonstrated how effective and secure information-sharing at the global level, and the implementation of adequate legislation, were essential to fighting cybercrime.