Cyber-Enabled Crimes Are Biggest Police Concerns

Cyber-related crimes such as money laundering, ransomware and phishing pose the biggest threat to society, according to the first ever Interpol Global Crime Trend report.

The inaugural study was compiled from data received from the policing organization’s 195 member countries, as well as information and analysis from external sources.

Money laundering was ranked the number one threat, with 67% of respondents claiming it to be a “high” or “very high” risk. Ransomware came second (66%) but was the crime type that most (72%) expected to increase in the next 3–5 years.

Of the nine top crime trends identified in the report, six are directly cyber-enabled, including money laundering, ransomware, phishing, financial fraud, computer intrusion and child sexual exploitation.

Interpol warned that the pandemic had fomented new underground offerings like “financial crime-as-a-service,” including digital money laundering tools which help to lower the barrier to entry for criminal gangs.

It also claimed that demand for online child sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA) content surged during the pandemic. Some 62% of respondents expect it to increase or significantly increase in the coming years.

The findings represent something of a turnaround from pre-pandemic times, when drug trafficking regularly topped the list of police concerns.

Thanks to a surge in corporate digitalization, home working and online shopping, there are now rich pickings to be had from targeting consumers and business users with cyber-scams and attacks, Interpol claimed.

The policing body has certainly been busy over recent months.

Between March and May this year, its Operation First Light 2022 saw thousands of suspects arrested and tens of millions of dollars intercepted as part of a crackdown on email and phone-based fraud.

Earlier this month its Operation Jackal led to the arrest of 75 suspects thought to be part of the infamous Black Axe organized crime gang.

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