Cybercrime

Cybercrime cases in 2021

More information on cybercrime cases in 2021 is available in the Eurojust Annual Report 2021

Technological breakthroughs over the past few years have brought many positive developments for society. Cybercriminals exploit the speed and anonymity of the Internet to commit a range of criminal acts, from large-scale cyber-attacks to activities such as using malware, phishing and spam, or the use of crypto-currencies for illicit transactions. Further, technology can also facilitate serious organised crimes, such as terrorism and money laundering.

The often borderless nature of cyber- and cyber-related crime makes effective cross-border cooperation essential to investigate and prosecute perpetrators. Eurojust supports national authorities to work together and to make use of available cross-border investigative tools. Eurojust also hosts the European Judicial Cybercrime Network at the Agency’s premises in The Hague.

Challenges

Cybercrime is a growing and fast-evolving crime area which accounts for a substantial share of Eurojust’s overall casework. Eurojust also notes the growing overlap between crimes which originate on the Internet and cyber-enabled crimes such as terrorism and money laundering. The growing sophistication of cybercrime-related tools and practices such as encryption presents further challenges to investigators and prosecutors, by enabling criminals to avoid detection and prosecution by hiding data and evidence. Further, recent developments show a growing need for regulation concerning emerging technologies, including the Internet of Things [IoT].

In 2019, Europol and Eurojust published a joint report identifying and categorising the current developments and common challenges in combating cybercrime, which fall into five different areas:

  1. Loss of data: electronic data is the key to successful investigations in all the cybercrime areas, but the possibilities to obtain such data have been significantly limited.

  2. Loss of location: recent trends have led to a situation in which law enforcement may no longer establish the physical location of the perpetrator, the criminal infrastructure or electronic evidence.

  3. Challenges associated with national legal frameworks: the differences in domestic legal frameworks in EU Member States often prove to be serious impediments to international cybercrime investigations.

  4. Obstacles to international cooperation: in an international context, no common legal framework exists for the expedited sharing of evidence (as it does exist for the preservation of evidence). There is also a clear need for a better mechanism for cross-border communication and the swift exchange of information.

  5. Challenges of public-private partnerships: cooperation with the private sector is vital for combating cybercrime, yet no standardised rules of engagement are in place, and investigations can thus be hampered.

Eurojust’s role

Cover of report: Challenges and best practices from Eurojust’s casework in the area of cybercrime

Challenges and best practices from Eurojust’s casework in the area of cybercrime

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Eurojust helps EU Member States to tackle cybercrime offences by helping law enforcement and judicial professionals to map out the legal requirements to effectuate necessary interventions, and by facilitating the use of judicial cooperation tools such as the European Investigation Order (EIO) and the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

Further, the Agency coordinates cross-border investigations through the organisation of operational and coordination meetings and common action days. By ensuring effective communication and resource sharing, Eurojust also helps the involved authorities to address the technical requirements of cybercrime investigations, which may include encryption, data retention and solutions for Internet governance-related challenges.

EJCN

As part of the efforts to develop understanding and best practice around this complex crime area, Eurojust hosts the European Judicial Cybercrime Network (EJCN). It was established in 2016 to foster contacts between practitioners specialised in countering the challenges posed by cybercrime, cyber-enabled crime and investigations in cyberspace, and to increase efficiency of investigations and prosecutions.

The EJCN facilitates and enhances cooperation between competent judicial authorities by enabling the exchange of expertise, best practice and other relevant knowledge regarding the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime. The network also fosters dialogue among different actors and stakeholders that play a role in ensuring the rule of law in cyberspace.

In line with the Council Conclusions of 9 June 2016, Eurojust supports the network and ensures close cooperation. Among others, Eurojust participates in the EJCN Board and hosts the regular meetings of the EJCN (a summary of the outcome of the 7th EJCN plenary meeting held on 14/15 November 2019 can be found here). The Agency also supports the exchange of information and consults the EJCN about the development of policy work and other stakeholder activities to ensure a strong interaction between Eurojust’s expertise in international judicial cooperation and the operational and subject matter expertise of the EJCN members.

Cybercrime Judicial Monitor

Cybercrime Judicial Monitor

Latest Issue

Cybercrime Judicial Monitor - Issue 7, June 2022

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In addition to its operational work, Eurojust helps national authorities to develop relevant understanding and skills and to spread public awareness around cybercrime. These efforts include Eurojust’s publication of the Cybercrime Judicial Monitor (CJM), an annual report that highlights recent legislative developments and case law in relation to cybercrime, cyber-enabled crime and e-evidence.

In each report, a particular topic of interest is analysed. Through this report, common challenges, best practices and lessons learned in cybercrime cases can be shared among practitioners. See previously published editions of the Cybercrime Judicial Monitor.

Projects and initiatives

Eurojust is involved in a range of cybercrime-related projects and initiatives, including:

  • the SIRIUS project, launched in October 2017 by Europol, in close cooperation with Eurojust and the European Judicial Network (EJN). The project is a platform that helps investigators to cope with the complexity and volume of information in a rapidly changing online environment by providing guidelines and tools, and by sharing experience with peers, both online and in person;

  • the reports of the observatory function on encryption, in which Eurojust and Europol jointly present insights into the opportunities of law enforcement to potentially cope with encryption and its related legal and technical challenges. The third report was published in July 2021; and

  • the GLACY+ conferences (Global Action on Cybercrime Extended), which have been co-organised and hosted by Eurojust in 2018 and 2019. The GLACY+ project is a joint initiative of the European Union and the Council of Europe to strengthen the global fight against cybercrime by reinforcing the cyber capacity of 12 priority countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • the multi-agency EU Innovation Hub for Internal Security, which provides a joint platform to support the delivery of cutting-edge technologies for the security of citizens in the European Union. In April 2021, Eurojust contributed to a project launched by the Innovation Hub, aimed at developing accountability principles to guide human-centred and socially driven AI capabilities for security and justice organisations. The project aims to create a toolkit for practitioners to auto-evaluate future AI systems in light of the accountability principles.

Publications

PUBLICATION DATE:30 June 2022
This is the seventh issue of the Cybercrime Judicial Monitor (CJM), published once per year and distributed to judicial and law enforcement authorities active in the field of combating cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime. It is produced on the basis of information provided by members of the European...
PUBLICATION DATE:27 October 2021
In 2019, a major operation led by the Italian desk at Eurojust against an OCG involved in large scale pay-TV piracy and fraud, resulted in over 200 servers being taken down. Investigations into the activities of this criminal network, which involved illegal online streaming through cheap settop...
PUBLICATION DATE:02 July 2021
Access to data-in-clear of encrypted communications and stored data presents several difficult and controversial issues and continues to create tensions between key stakeholders, including law enforcement and the judiciary and civil society organisations, leaving policy makers with the mammoth task...
PUBLICATION DATE:01 June 2021
In early 2019, an organised crime group (OCG) based in Romania began targeting unsuspecting bank customers in Lithuania and Estonia. Through so-called phishing messages that included links to counterfeit bank websites, victims were lured into providing their access credentials online.
PUBLICATION DATE:27 May 2021
The European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) presents this sixth issue of the Cybercrime Judicial Monitor (CJM). The CJM is published once per year and distributed to judicial and law enforcement authorities active in the field of combating cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime...
PUBLICATION DATE:23 March 2021
EU-wide action against illegal pay-tv streaming Crackdown on illegal use of pay-TV signals Crackdown on one of the world’s largest online piracy groups Coordinated action against illegal streaming
PUBLICATION DATE:03 December 2020
PUBLICATION DATE:19 November 2020
There are several factors that make tackling cybercrime unique and challenging. Cybercrime by its nature is borderless and swiftly evolving, sometimes faster than national authorities can react. Adding an additional layer of complexity is the horizontal nature of cybercrime: almost any type of crime...