The European EL PAcCTO project highlights an increase in cybercrime through online fraud and the theft of personal data
The global crime scene adapted to the new reality during the health crisis. According to the European project managed by FIIAPP, EL PAcCTO, activities related to cybercrime adapted their modus operandi to citizens’ interest in seeking solutions to and information on the pandemic.
El PAcCTO obtained this information thanks to its work with the police networks sponsored by the programme, highlighting the contributions of the Spanish Civil Guard, the French Police Nationale and the Italian Carabinieri.
The increase in crimes known as cyber dependent crimes stands out. These crimes target the technology systems themselves and use tools like ransomware, a type of harmful program that restricts access to certain parts of the operating system and demands a ransom in exchange for removing this restriction. This practice, along with illicit access to economic data through unsecure Wi-Fi networks, are some of the most common crimes.
The increase in online commerce also led to an increase in online fraud. Parallel to store closures, there has been an increase in common scams on second-hand buying and selling apps.
Other criminal factors are cryptocurrencies for money laundering or disinformation and agitation campaigns, spreading false news for political and economic interference.
There has also been a significant proliferation in recent months of social networks and web pages for the creation of erotic or amateur pornographic content by adolescents.
Finally, an increase in drug trafficking via the internet and social networks was also detected. These substances were distributed by post or personal “home deliveries” using false product distribution coverage.
In the face of such threats, EL PAcCTO highlights the need to carry out preventive campaigns against cybercrime that reinforce the responsible use of ICT, basic measures of digital hygiene and security against the theft of personal data.