Only “around 100” Cybercriminal Kingpins Worldwide

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Troels Oerting, head of Europol’s Cybercrime Centre, claims that there are only a handful of cybercrime-lords producing “malware at a speed that we have difficulties catching up with”.

Further to my blog post last week concerning how we perceive hackers; Europol’s head of Cybercrime, Troels Oerting, claims that there are only “around 100” big cybercriminals.

“We roughly know who they are. If we take them out of the equation then the rest will fall down,” he said in an interview with the BBC’s Tech Tent radio show.

He also adds that “this is not a static number, it will increase unfortunately”.

Fighting the good fight

“We can still cope but the criminals have more resources and they do not have obstacles. They are driven by greed and profit and they produce malware at a speed that we have difficulties catching up with.”

The internet has no oceans and no borders and this is the most dangerous thing about malware producers: “criminals no longer come to our countries, they commit their crimes from a distance and because of this [we] cannot use the normal tools to catch them.”

Oerting adds that once a piece of malware is created “it is downloaded by all kinds of criminals… it is so easy to be a cybercriminal. You don’t have to be a cyber-expert because you just download the programs that you want to use.”

Anonymity and Privacy

Oerting had something quite interesting to say about internet privacy: “There is confusion among the good guys on the internet between anonymity and privacy. I don’t think they are the same. I think that you have a right to privacy but that doesn’t mean that you have the right to anonymity.”

It’s an interesting point. Regardless of whether or not we have a right to anonymity I honestly don’t think we have it online anymore. And although privacy is most definitely our right we still need to enforce it ourselves and be careful what we give away: as shown in this blog post.

What do you think about online privacy versus anonymity? Are they mutually exclusive?