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Europol, a European Union security agency, recently published its 2016 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) research, which identified an expanding cyber criminal economy exploiting increasingly Internet-enabled lives and low levels of digital hygiene. Informed largely by Europol’s law enforcement and cooperation partners, the report identifies eight main cyber crime trends.
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Crime-as-a-Service: The digital underground is underpinned by a growing Crime-as-a-Service model that interconnects specialist providers of cybercrime tools and services with an increasing number of organised crime groups.
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Ransomware: Ransomware and banking Trojans remain the top malware threats, a trend unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.
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The criminal use of data: Data remains a key commodity for cyber criminals. It is procured for immediate financial gain in many cases but, increasingly, also acquired to commit more complex fraud, encrypted for ransom, or used directly for extortion.
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Payment fraud: EMV (chip and PIN), geo-blocking and other industry measures continue to erode card-present fraud, but logical and malware attacks directly against ATMs continue to evolve and proliferate. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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Online child sexual abuse: The use of end-to-end encrypted platforms for sharing media, coupled with the use of largely anonymous payment systems, has facilitated an escalation in the live streaming of child abuse. (Shutterstock Images)
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Abuse of the Darknet: The Darknet continues to enable criminals involved in a range of illicit activities, such as the exchange of child sexual exploitation material.
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Social engineering: An increase of phishing aimed at high value targets has been registered by enforcement private sector authorities.
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Virtual currencies: Bitcoin remains the currency of choice for the payment for criminal products and services in the digital underground economy and the Darknet.