Course report: From Facebook slander to national security threats

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16 May 2013

The Internet has completely changed the way we meet and communicate on an everyday basis. But the borderless world on the Internet has at the same time enhanced new criminal possibilities and the concept of vulnerability has developed in ways that were unknown just a few decades ago. Not least is the Internet-related legislation experiencing a strenuous time as the cybercrime developments are far ahead of the legislative measures. These themes were highlighted and discussed on the CEPOL course MS and union capacities to detect, investigate and prosecute cybercrime (2013/13) which took place in Stockholm 23-26 April 2013. Within the EU cybercrime is prioritised and following that there was a great interest in the course, which in all had 32 participants from 26 countries.

A question certain interest is where, from a legislative view, a cybercrime is committed. Doubtless there is an immense need for cooperation as cybercrime sees no borders. The first day started with a presentation on legislation by the Belgian prosecutor Jurgen Coppens who also sees the need for everyone to think preventively as laws cannot provide sufficient protection. The following expert – Jean Dominique Nollet – presented the EC3, which is the recently opened cybercrime unit within Europol. Mr Nollet emphasized the difficulties in forensics with encryption and really knowing what to look for. The day ended with Ola Laurell, former prosecutor at Eurojust, who focused on JITs; Joint Investigation Teams, to be really powerful when investigating cybercrime.

On the second day Nicola Dileone of CEPOL identified some of the necessary cornerstones of cybercrime, like cooperating with the private sector, and continued with emphasizing the need for training and certifying of investigators, from the first responder to the level of specially trained EU-prosecutors. In completion Virgil Spiridon from the Romanian Police presented his international study of what constitutes good cybercrime units. The day ended with a study visit to The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.

Best practices were the theme on the following day. Michael Beattie and Nick Bria from the UK Police gave a presentation that highlighted the need for live forensics. They underlined how utterly important these skills are to whether an investigation will lead to charges or not. The Swedish prosecutor Thomas Balter Nordenman continued on the theme and gave some examples of what, from his experiences, have been crucial for cybercrime charges. The final presenter was David Lindahl, an external expert from the Swedish Defence Research Agency. He was a bit critical of how the computer manufacturers sell computers “bit-by-bit” to unknowing customers, who are unlikely to be aware of what their computer is doing or being attacked by. The bottom line was that it is also time for the computer business to take their responsibility.

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