On 26-27 March, Europol hosted a joint meeting of the EC3 Advisory Groups on Financial Services, Internet Security and Communication Providers, gathering 70 industry representatives to discuss the cyber threat of phishing.
Over the course of the two days, global financial institutions, Internet security companies and telecommunications providers shared valuable insights into how phishing affects their respective industries and what can be done together with law enforcement to combat this type of cyber crime.
The Joint Advisory Group meeting featured keynotes on phishing and machine learning and on business e-mail compromise, as well as group discussions on potential solutions to this problem. Focusing on technical, operational and awareness-related solutions to mitigate phishing, law enforcement and industry experts came up with a number of recommendations and conclusions on what can be done collectively:
*improve information sharing across industries, as well as with law enforcement and other relevant public sector organisations
*implement the basics: secure authentication, domain blacklisting and blocking of common exploits
*train and educate users on a permanent basis and not as a one-time effort
*embrace innovation such as machine learning to automatically detect phishing e-mails
*regularly review anti-phishing measures to keep up-to-date with ever-evolving criminal MOs
On the basis of these conclusions, further guidance and recommendations will be published later this year outlining the problem of phishing and possible mitigation measures from a law enforcement-centric perspective.
Enabler of cyber crime
Steven Wilson, head of the European Cyber Crime Centre, said: “Phishing is the engine and enabler of many cyber crimes and can be used to cause significant harm to European citizens and their organisations. Only by working closely and across key industries with some of the leading experts in their field can we ensure that we’re able to counter this threat and keep the EU safe.”
Drew Bagley, vice-president at Crowdstrike, added: “Phishing is a persistent threat to data protection used by everyone from entry-level criminals through to sophisticated nation-state adversaries. This Europol cross-industry forum is a one-of-a-kind gathering of Advisory Groups from Internet security, banking and infrastructure to enhance awareness and share cyber security Best Practice.”
Bruce Nikkel, director of cyber crime intelligence and forensic investigation at UBS (and chairman of the European FI-ISAC) concluded: “Europol is a leader in leveraging private sector engagement to help fight cyber crime. This is demonstrated in the great success of EC3’s Advisory Groups which facilitate the sharing of new criminal trends observed by industry. Public-private partnerships like this ultimately improve the safety and security of our society.”
EC3 established the Advisory Groups on Financial Services, Internet Security and Communication Providers to foster trust and co-operation between key private sector industries and law enforcement in their joint fight against cyber crime. They meet separately three times a year at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague to share strategic information related to cyber crime threats and outline trends in their respective business areas, as well as agree on joint initiatives alongside law enforcement.