On 14 and 15 March 2018 Europol’s European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) took part in two Referral Action Days with colleagues from the national referral units of Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, targeting terrorist content located on WordPress.com, a blogging service, and VideoPress, a video-hosting service for WordPress sites. The intensive referral campaign identified over 900 items of branded terrorist propaganda that were swiftly flagged to the platform moderators for further review and eventual removal.
This week, the Polish Police, in close cooperation with the Belgian Federal Police and Europol, has arrested a Polish national, known online as “Armaged0n”, who is suspected of having encrypted several thousands of computers and having committed a series of online attacks on various Polish companies between 2013 and 2018. The detainee will have to answer to 181 charges in court, including money laundering and computer fraud.
As of today, a new decryption tool for victims of the GandCrab ransomware is available on www.nomoreransom.org. This tool has been released by the Romanian Police (IGPR) under the supervision of the General Prosecutor’s Office (DIICOT) and in collaboration with the internet security company Bitdefender and Europol.
The Belgian Federal Police is releasing free decryption keys for the Cryakl ransomware today, after working in close cooperation with Kaspersky Lab. The keys were obtained during an ongoing investigation; by sharing the keys with No More Ransom the Belgian Federal Police becomes a new associated partner of the project – the second law enforcement agency after the Dutch National Police.
The Safer Internet Day (SID) is a global movement celebrated in over 130 countries each year. Its aim is to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology, especially among children and young people, and to call each stakeholder to play their part in creating a better internet for all. Each year on this day, millions of people unite to inspire positive change, and Europol is proud to join the cause. In 2018, we are supporting its theme: “Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you” by sharing our tips and advice on online safety, a reminder for all, but especially for the youngest among us, on responsible and careful online behaviour.
A hacking tool allowing cybercriminals to remotely and surreptitiously gain complete control over a victim’s computer is no longer available as a result of an UK-led operation targeting hackers linked to the Remote Access Trojan (RAT) Luminosity Link. Coordinated by the UK National Crime Agency with the support of Europol, this operation saw the involvement of over a dozen law enforcement agencies in Europe, Australia and North America.
Figures from studies produced by the OECD and EUIPO show that counterfeit and pirated products represent up to 5% of all EU imports, worth up to 85 billion. Brands that suffer the most from IP infringements are primarily registered in the EU.
For a law enforcement agency to be praised for the quality of its data protection principles and practice is really saying something. Being seen as a champion of people’s privacy rights is not the norm for those in the police and intelligence world, to say the least! But at Europol, that’s what I have been consistently hearing over recent years from great bastions of data protection interests such as Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor, members of the European Parliament and senior representatives from the NGO, Statewatch.
One of the main focuses of the workshop was the misuse of cryptocurrencies by criminals and terrorist financiers to launder money and support other criminal activities.
On 11 January 2018, a crime group suspected of hosting a large-scale illegal IPTV streaming business has been dismantled. The investigations were led by the Cypriot Police – Intellectual Property Crime Unit, with the support of the Cybercrime Division of the Greek Police, the Dutch Fiscal Investigative and Intelligence Service (FIOD), the Cybercrime Unit of the Bulgarian Police, Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC³) and with the support of members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA). In total, four individuals have been arrested and 17 houses searches have been carried out in Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece.
On 11 January 2018, Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organised the eighth joint Referral Action Day with colleagues from the national referral units of Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, to identify and secure the swift removal of terrorist and violent extremism content uploaded on Facebook and Instagram. The intensive referral campaign was hosted at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague and targeted content by terrorist groups and terrorist sympathisers, aiming at radicalising, recruiting and propagating terrorist activities.
During the last week, Romanian authorities have arrested three individuals who are suspected of infecting computer systems by spreading the CTB-Locker (Curve-Tor-Bitcoin Locker) malware – a form of file-encrypting ransomware. Two other suspects from the same criminal group were arrested in Bucharest in a parallel ransomware investigation linked to the US.
Intensive cooperation and coordination between enforcement authorities at EU level has led to the seizure of millions of fake and possibly harmful products and has helped to take down several transnational criminal networks.
On 5 December 2017 the Spanish Guardia Civil, with support from the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova, the Bulgarian Police of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Romanian Guard Police, the Greek Police, and Europol, arrested 18 members of a criminal organisation for manufacturing more than two million cigarettes per day.
On 29 November 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in close cooperation with the Luneburg Central Criminal Investigation Inspectorate in Germany, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the Joint Cybercrime Action Task Force (J-CAT), Eurojust and private-sector partners, dismantled one of the longest running malware families in existence called Andromeda (also known as Gamarue).
Four key members of an international criminal network responsible for compromising payment card data and illegal transactions against European citizens were arrested today, 30 November 2017, during a joint law enforcement operation called “Neptune”.
Joint investigations by Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC³), the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre and law enforcement authorities from 27 EU Member States and third parties , facilitated by INTERPOL, have seized over 20 520 domain names that were offering counterfeit goods, for example luxury products, sportswear, electronics, pharmaceuticals and online piracy on e-commerce platforms and social networks.