Europol: Corona pandemic contributes to the increase in cybercrime

The European Police Agency (Europol) announced that the Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to an increase in cybercrime throughout Europe, especially with regard to child pornography and online fraud.

Europol said in a statement that "criminals have rapidly exploited the pandemic to target the most vulnerable" in a climate in which the quarantine has prompted users to resort to the Internet "at an unprecedented level."

The Hague-based agency, which publishes an annual report on cybercrime, noted that Internet fraud "has become an ideal strategy for cybercriminals seeking to sell products they claim to protect against or cure the emerging corona virus."

Europol explained that “phishing” via electronic messages (or “phishing” in English) constitutes an “effective threat” as criminals are using more “sophisticated” methods in this area.

Also, at the height of the health crisis, the agency monitored a "significant increase" in material involving sexual exploitation of children on the Internet, and indicated that the publication of such material "has become more popular than it used to be" due to travel restrictions.

The statement quoted the European Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Elva Johansen, as saying that "the pandemic slowed many aspects of the normal life of people," but "unfortunately, it increased the rate of criminal activity on the Internet."

She added that "organized crime groups exploit the most vulnerable, such as the new unemployed, bankrupt companies, or worst of all children." She stressed the need for the European Union to intensify its efforts "urgently" to combat cybercrime.

 

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