20 Mar 2013
Cybercrime is the second most active criminal activity in Europe after international drug trafficking, Europol says in its 2013 EU Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment.
Europol identified 3,600 e-crime organizations active in Europe and deems Internet organized crime a growing threat “with a business-like focus on maximizing profit and minimizing risk,” Europol director Rob Wainwright says. "A new breed of organized crime groups is emerging in Europe, capable of operating in multiple countries and criminal sectors."
According to the report, the number of phishing attacks and click fraud scams will see a significant increase in the future with the Internet offering criminals access to an immense database of private and sensitive information of potential victims.
"Cybercrime in the form of large scale data breaches, online frauds and child sexual exploitation poses an ever increasing threat to the EU, while profit-driven cybercrime is becoming an enabler for other criminal activity," the report writes.
Smart phones will constitute the next point of interest for cyber crooks, with ever-more people connecting to the Internet using the highly mobile devices. Europol anticipates a growth both in number and complexity when it comes to attacks targeting handsets.
In a possible explanation for cybercrime going wild, Europol lists users’ lack of security awareness, people disclosing too much information on social networking platforms, faulty infrastructure in companies and poor implementation of security protocols.