Troels Oerting, the head of Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, has claimed that there is a small hardcore of capable cyber criminals and a very strong need to tackle them.
Oerting said in a BBC radio interview that there are around 100 such criminal masterminds and that their reach is global.
He explained that the group is currently small but will grow, as will the number of targets and victims. He described them as a "rather limited group of good programmers".
Oerting suggested that investigators are close to breaking down the groups and are looking to topple the leaders.
"We roughly know who they are. If we can take them out of the equation then the rest will fall down," he said.
"This is not a static number. It will increase, unfortunately. We can still cope but the criminals have more resources and they do not have obstacles. They are driven by greed and profit and they produce malware at a speed that we have difficulties catching up with.
"It is so easy to be a cyber criminal. You don't have to be a cyber expert because you just download the programs that you want to use."
The centre of this criminal activity is Russia, said Oerting, adding that illegal work done in the country spreads out across Europe and the globe.
"Criminals no longer come to our countries, they commit their crimes from a distance and because of this I cannot use the normal tools to catch them," he said.
"I have to work with countries I am not used to working with and that scares me a bit."
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