Why the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce is a positive for Europe

By Dr. Guy Bunker @guybunker

Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce

Is J-Cat set to be the ultimate cyber army? Aside from sounding like a modern day action hero, this is the name given to the new team of European cybersecurity professionals – the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce - set to start a trial phase on 1st September.

The taskforce will be piloted for an initial period of six months and progress of the test phase will be monitored by the European Union's own European Cybercrime Task Force (EUCTF). 

The group will be headed by Andy Archibald, deputy head of the UK's National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) as the “strategic lead”, and its board will comprise senior figures from EC3 (European Cybercrime Centre), the FBI, the NCA (National Crime Agency) and Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). The group will focus on cross-border cybercrime investigations against botnets, banking Trojans and the darknet, among other operations into cyber-crime.

While Paul Gillen, head of operations at the European Cyber Crime Centre, emphasises the benefits of this as a learning exercise, I see this as a positive step forward towards a collaborative front against cybercrime with the EU. Just as transparency and clarity re cyber security policies and the correct technologies are essential within businesses, a collaborative approach in Europe is needed to ensure that advancements are being shared and acted upon. The fact that this trial will be closely monitored by the European Union's own European Cybercrime Task Force (EUCTF) means that, hopefully, we’ll be able to gain a clear overview over what is really working well within businesses today, and recognise where flaws lie.

Of course, it is one thing to investigate, what we need to see is if J-Cat can act, and act at a speed which will make a difference to cybercrime. For this to happen there really needs to be transparency of information, with no holding back. This isn’t something which individual agencies have been particularly good at doing in the past – with only selected information being shared. Today’s cybercriminal operations are global, they do share information, tactics and technology – J-Cat needs to do the same in order to combat them.

Just as cyber security is important to the UK economy, the same issues apply internationally and for individual organisations, no matter how small they are. At Clearswift our goal is to ensure secure collaboration through 100% visibility of critical information 100% of the time. This type of initiative brings us a step closer to realising this on a much larger scale – starting with Europe.