Cyprus Police to assign web-constables, Police Chief tells international conference on Cybercrime

Cyprus Police are planning to assign web-constables who will police the web in real time, Police Chief Zacharias Chrysostomou said on Monday, addressing the official opening of an international conference hosted in Cyprus on “Cybercrime Trends and Threats: European and International Dimensions.”

Speaking also at the opening of the conference, Justice and Public Order Minister Ionas Nicolaou said that a Cyprus police web platform received in 2017 approximately 1000 complaints on issues concerning cybercrime, and that due to the important know-how obtained during the recent years, through a systematic training and an exchange of best practices and information with other states and organizations, law enforcement authorities in Cyprus have handled increased cases of child pornography.

The conference is attended by 241 delegates, out of whom 43 came from abroad and represent 12 international and European organizations and 14 law enforcement authorities. Moreover 19 representatives of foreign Embassies in Cyprus are participating.

Key-note speakers include, amongst others, leading members of European and international organisations, such as EUROPOL, CEPOL, INTERPOL, FRONTEX, the FBI and others, practitioners from law enforcement agencies, heads of Services from the European Commission and the Council of Europe as well as distinguished academics and researchers from numerous Universities, who have expertise in the area of cybercrime.

Chrysostomou said in his speech that according to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee, cybercrime costs to the world economy almost 600 billion dollars annually. Reportedly, it is estimated that cybercrime currently affects two out of three people connected to the internet. Furthermore, it is estimated that three hundred thousand to one million viruses and other malicious software products are created and launched against targets in a single day, he added.

The Police Chief stressed that as a law enforcement agency, “the Cyprus Police have a key role in preventing of and fighting cybercrime. Its two main units namely, the Office for Combating Cybercrime and the Digital Evidence Forensic Laboratory are staffed with specialised and skilful officers who, with the aid of advanced software and hardware, collect forensic evidence and pursue criminal investigations on cybercrimes in general, and hacking and digital child pornography in particular.”

“The Cyprus Police are constantly seeking ways to further develop its anti-cybercrime capacity and thus, in the near future it will establish a Special Operations Unit. The establishment of this Unit will be based on the British model of Special Operations Unit, and will be vectored towards fighting organised crime, terrorism, and cybercrime, Chrysostomou said.

He noted that “in the near future, the Office for Combating Cybercrime, being under the Special Operations Unit, will receive even more resources and as a result of which, will be more effective in investigating all sorts of cybercrime, as well as in policing in real time the web, by the assignment of web-constables.”

In his address on behalf of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Justice and Public Ordre Minister Ionas Nicolaou assured that the Cyprus government is working intensively to develop an environment of security in Cyberspace through a series of actions, in the framework of the Republic of Cyprus National Strategy on Cyber Security.”

He underlined that Cyprus National Strategy concerns mainly the establishment of structures for the security of networks and information, the effective cooperaton of the state with other competent authroties of the public and private sector, the creation of mechanisms to immediately respond to incidents with the operation of the national CERT, the protection of crucial information structures and the combat of cybercrime.

Furthermore, Nicolaou said that in 2016 Cyrus was evaluated in a positive way by the Council of the EU as regards the combat of cybercrime, while referring to the incidents of child pornography in Cyprus he noted that in 2017 the Police managed 130 cases compared to 23 in 2013.

Attorney General Costas Clerides said that even though it is a necessary tool for combating crimes on cyberspace, the adoption of strict laws is not sufficient on its own and what needs to be done is to provide the means with a view to investigate, disclose and prove in a comprehensive, speedy and effective way actions, which constitute such kind of crimes.

He stressed that criminals concerned with both organised and individual crime cannot be left to be one step ahead.

CEPOL Executive Director Detlef Schroeder referred to the increased dangers due to the mass digitization, noting that social life is nowadays digitialized.

He said that web users are today 7.5 billion, while the users of social media amount to 3.2 billions and underlined the need for crossborder cooperatoin to address theats on cyberspace and crimes committed there.

Furthermore he focused on the need to train and educate members of the law enforcement authrorities to effectively combat cybercrime.

Source: Cyprus News Agency