The growing scourge of cybercrime poses a grave risk to the economic prosperity of Europe and must be defeated to help businesses trade online with confidence and boost the economy, according to a new report from the European Commission (EC).
The organisation said the rising tide of threats means that tackling cybercrime is one of its top priorities for the coming 12 months, alongside tackling terrorism and criminal gangs, in its second annual Internal Security Strategy report.
“A variety of activities relating to internet fraud are becoming more prominent, including illicit internet transactions, use of money mules and fake websites,” it warned in the report.
“The past two years have also witnessed an increase in the number of hackings and internet-driven illegal activities. The fight against cybercrime is not only about reducing crime in the online environment, but also about ensuring a secure cyberspace within which economic and social activity can flourish.”
As part of the fight against online crime the EC touted the work of the recently launched European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) that has already led some high-profile arrests and takedowns of online scams.
The EC also highlighted the recently launched Cybersecurity Strategy for the European Union and its proposals as another key strategy in the fight against criminals.
"The strategy highlights the need for reinforced co-operation and exchange of information between the relevant actors to provide early detection and a more coordinated response. The objectives of the strategy are mutually reinforcing," it said in the report.
"For example, the resilience and network and information security objective includes actions aimed at strengthening public-private partnerships and at setting up National Computer Emergency Response Teams (Certs). This will in turn support the fight against cybercrime."
The report comes the day after the UK government announced that Oxford University will host a new cyber research centre, backed by £1m of funding, to help further improve the UK's defences against the rising tide of cyber crime.
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