Private and public sectors join forces to track cyber gangs

Backed by Microsoft, PayPal Fortinet and Santander, the Cybercrime Atlas Initiative will work with Interpol in fight against a world of digital crime gangs

Cybercriminals are to be tracked by a new initiative launched by the World Economic Forum to map criminal activities and identify opportunities for public and private sector responses that can be taken alongside law enforcement agencies.

The Cybercrime Atlas initiative will provide a platform for leading cybercrime investigators, national and international law enforcement agencies, and global businesses to share knowledge, generate policy recommendations and identify opportunities for coordinated action to fight cyber threats.

“The Cybercrime Atlas is a collaborative research initiative that gathers and collates information about the cybercriminal ecosystem and major threat actors operating today,” says World Economic Forum Managing Director Jeremy Jurgens. “The insights generated will help promote opportunities for greater cooperation between the private sector and law enforcement to address cybercrime.”

Cybercrime threatens national security, public organisations and businesses of all sizes. Despite the amount of digital data collected on cybercriminal activities worldwide, the effort to fight it is often uncoordinated, disjointed and dispersed. The Cybercrime Atlas aims to map the cybercrime landscape, covering criminal operations, structures and networks.

Cybercrime investigators share notes on criminal groups

First announced at San Francisco’s RSA Conference in June 2022, the Cybercrime Atlas has benefited from a year of pro bono analysis of 13 criminal groups by cybercrime investigators. Law enforcement agencies have welcomed their approach and findings.

“This initiative underlines the need for an enhanced multi-sector approach to combat the increasing cybercrime threat,” says Interpol Secretary-General Jürgen Stock. “A global solution must include private sector insights to enable law enforcement to prevent, detect, investigate and disrupt cybercrime.”

The secretariat for the Cybercrime Atlas initiative will be hosted by the World Economic Forum for the next 2-3 years, with the support of Fortinet, Microsoft, PayPal and Santander, until it is sufficiently established to become an independent platform.

“The Cybercrime Atlas is an important initiative that will aid industry, law enforcement, and government agencies by providing a first-of-its-kind visibility to disrupt cybercriminals across their ecosystem and infrastructure,” says Ken Xie, Founder, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer, Fortinet. “A global and unified effort will make it easier to get beyond the obstacles that shield cybercriminals.”

The Forum’s Partnership Against Cybercrime initiative brings together a dedicated community to drive momentum for a public-private partnership to combat cybercrime.

“Cybercriminals work in the shadows and exploit vulnerabilities to inflict devastating attacks. The Cybercrime Atlas provides an important forum that brings the public and private sectors together to share actionable information and leverage cross-sector data, capabilities and expertise, crucial to disrupting cybercrime quickly, and at scale,” says Brad Smith, Vice-Chair and President, Microsoft.

"To mitigate and disrupt global cybercrime in today’s interconnected world, we need robust platforms to share intelligence and facilitate more meaningful institutional collaboration,” says Assaf Keren, Chief Information Security Officer and Vice-President, Enterprise Cyber Security, PayPal. “The Cybercrime Atlas represents a key next step in this work and an opportunity to unite global businesses, law enforcement and experts around concrete opportunities to protect the world’s citizens and their safety.”

“Given the global nature of cyber threats, increasingly public-private collaboration is the best way to combat cybercrime,” says Dirk Marzluf, Group Chief Operating and Technology Officer, Banco Santander. “Organisations must look beyond their perimeter and combine efforts and resources with businesses, law enforcement and government.”

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