INTERPOL Targets Cybercrime in Asia

Cyber Security Intelligence\by Tim Heath

“Cybercrime is a game changer for law enforcement. It changes the way police mount an investigation,” says Noboru Nakatani, Executive Director of the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation. “More than half of our 190 members don’t have digital investigation or cyber forensic capabilities. They don’t know how to investigate this new generation of crime.”
The INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) is a research and development facility for the identification of cyber crimes and criminals and it provides specialist training and operational support for police jurisdictions around the world. Hosted in Singapore, it is the only other INTERPOL office in the world, outside the headquarters in Lyons in France.
Nakatani explains that the IGCI, which has been ramping up staff since November 2014 but officially opened on 13 April and is focused on providing operational support, capacity building and cybercrime research: “we have to increase the capability of our members before they can start investigating and prosecuting cybercrime.”
“When police recognise a conventional crime in the field they start to collect evidence – such as fingerprints and DNA. They will collect witness statements and check CCTV. Sometimes you will use facial recognition software, or check suspicious transactions in bank accounts,” says Nakatani.
“But in cybercrime you first have to track the IP address – which more often than not is in another country. As the evidence is digital, and may be stored in personal devices, the data first has to be retrieved from these devices. If there is any indication that the digital information was changed after interception by the police, then it is inadmissible.”
To establish the capacity to investigate and prosecute cybercrime is expensive – and requires a level of international cooperation between police jurisdictions that only INTERPOL can provide.
Of the 120 full-time staff at IGCI, half are on secondment from police forces around the world – a clear demonstration of support from INTERPOL’s member countries: “Just as cybercriminals cooperate across international boundaries, so law enforcement needs to be able to collaborate seamlessly,” he continues.
IGCI is also working closely with the private sector – including NEC, Kaspersky, Trend Micro and Oracle – to harness their technical expertise in dealing with cybercrime.
In the first operation of its kind, information shared between the INTERPOL Digital Crime Centre (IDCC), Hong Kong Police Force, Singapore Police Force and the Philippines National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group led to the identification of between 190 and 195 individuals working for organised crime groups operating out of the Philippines.
“The reality of INTERPOL is different from Hollywood. We do not have a Q, the fictional gadget man in the James Bond film series, but we do not have secret bases,” Nakatani chuckles. “But innovation comes from collaboration, and individual police agencies can’t realize the level of collaboration required to address cybercrime. IGCI understands collaboration from the standpoint of a multi-stakeholder approach. This is key for us, and how we will face the emerging threats.”


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