With the physical and virtual worlds becoming increasingly interconnected, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble told the Underground Economy 2013 conference at the world police body’s headquarters that the only way to protect cyberspace against criminal abuse is through a global network of partners.
Mr Noble said the biggest challenge to cybersecurity is the increasing intersection between cyberspace and the daily lives of the world’s citizens, as advances in technology are blurring the distinction between the real world and the online one.
“Welcome to the World, version 3.0. A world providing unbelievable opportunities to mankind, but also formidable challenges to those entrusted with making it a safer place,” said the INTERPOL Chief.
Noting that the number of Internet users increased by 76 per cent in the past five years to nearly 2.8 billion individuals – the number of households in Africa with access to the Internet has tripled during the same period – Secretary General Noble said the spread of Internet accessibility was just one element of the evolving challenge for law enforcement.
“It’s not just about how many people are online, it’s also a matter of how big a role the Internet plays in their daily lives, and how those lives can be directly impacted by what goes on online. Only by considering both dimensions, will we get a full picture of what is at stake,” said Mr Noble.
As an example of how criminals can exploit the porous boundaries between the real and virtual worlds, the audience heard how a computer file containing the blueprint for a gun was used to print a plastic weapon using a 3D printer, thus creating an untraceable weapon which could be replicated by anyone with the right technology.
To stay ahead of the criminals seeking to exploit the interconnected cyberworld, in 2010 INTERPOL “s member countries unanimously approved the creation of the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to becoming a global centre in the fight against cybercrime when it opens in 2014.
A key objective of the IGCI is to bring together digital security experts from law enforcement, academia and the private sector to work in partnership towards the common goal of protecting cyberspace from abuse.
“Team Cymru is honoured to continue our five years of partnership with INTERPOL. This event breaks down barriers between law enforcement and the IT security community and builds capacity with the training and case studies presented,” said Team Cymru Manager of Outreach, Steve Santorelli.
“The relationships built this week will undoubtedly result in successful joint investigations for years to come,” he concluded.
INTERPOL is working with its partners in law enforcement and the cybersecurity industry to address the growing cyberthreat. Last month, two operations against the production and sharing of child sexual abuse material via online forums in Latin America and Europe led to some 100 arrests and the seizure of thousands of devices containing abuse images.