The UK's Cyber Defence Alliance Limited, a consortium of British-based banks and law enforcement agencies, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre to collaborate in the fight against cyber fraud and financial crimes.
Thanks to the agreement, the two organisations will henceforth work together to act against organised cyber crime groups that carry out repeated cyber attacks on banks and the financial sector. They will also exchange "expertise such as best practice, statistical data, technical information or trends related to cybercrime and cooperating with each other when implementing projects".
Europol's stunning successes against cyber fraud
2018 has so far been a successful year for Europol as far as enforcement action against organised cyber crime groups targeting the financial sector is concerned. In July, Europol announced that it had busted a sophisticated cyber fraud ring that was behind more than 35,000 incidents of online fraud since 2012.
According to Europol, the cyber crime group inflicted losses worth EUR 18 million (£16 million) to organisations and individuals who became victims of their online fraud operations. Its members were well-spread out across Europe and were caught by authorities in Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
The modus operandi of the group involved its members using stolen or fraudulently-obtained credit card information to order high-quality goods from various mail order companies. These goods were then collected by mules hired by the cyber crime group who, in turn, sent the goods to new addresses, most of which were in Eastern Europe.
In June, Europol and other European law enforcement authorities arrested as many as 95 fraudsters who carried out fraudulent transactions exceeding EUR 8 million (£7 million) by using stolen credit card details within the European Union (EU) and beyond.
Europol succeeded in nabbing the 95 criminals after teaming up with merchants, logistics firms, financial institutions and analytical companies to determine their identities.
Commenting on the fresh agreement signed between the UK's Cyber Defence Alliance and Europol, Steven Wilson, Head of Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), said that the signing of the MoU illustrated the logical next step in their mission to jointly tackle the threat of cybercrime.
"CDA does important work in facilitating the sharing of information on cybersecurity incidents and is thus an essential partner in securing the global digital space. I look forward to our upcoming cooperation and joint projects," he added.
Maria Vello, CEO of the Cyber Defence Alliance, said that EC3 will be critical to the alliance's quest to fight cyber crime and threats collectively and collaboratively across Europe and globally.
"EC3 adds a whole new dimension to the CDA to help enable our mission and to take a proactive approach to tackling cybercrime at all levels of this miscreant ecosystem of shared criminal services. Through our cooperative efforts we will be able to help ensure a safer cyber future," he added.
The Cyber Defence Alliance was set up to enable banks to share information and experience with each other about tactics employed by cyber crime groups to target the financial sector and to collaborate in fighting detecting or preventing cyber attacks on financial organisations. As of now, Lloyds Bank, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Santander UK, Metro Bank, Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, and Standard Chartered are members of the alliance.