Europol Teams up with Industry Experts to Combat Phishing

Press Release

From 26 March to 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 two days, global financial institutions, internet security companies and telecommunications providers shared insights into how phishing affects their respective industries and what can be done together with law enforcement to combat this type of cybercrime.

The Joint Advisory Group meeting featured keynotes on phishing and machine learning and on business email compromise (BEC), 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 emails;
  • 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 at a later stage this year, outlining the problem of phishing and possible mitigation measures from a law enforcement-centric perspective.

Steven Wilson, Head of the European Cybercrime Centre, said: “Phishing is the engine and enabler of many cybercrimes, 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 are able to counter this threat and keep the EU safe.”

“Phishing is a persistent threat to data protection, used by everyone from entry-level criminals 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 cybersecurity best practices.”, said Drew Bagley, VP & Counsel, Privacy & Cyber Policy at Crowdstrike.

Bruce Nikkel, Director of Cybercrime Intelligence & Forensic Investigation at UBS, as well as Chairman of the European FI-ISAC, said: “Europol is a leader in leveraging private sector engagement to help fight cybercrime. 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 cooperation between key private sector industries and law enforcement in their joint fight against cybercrime. They meet separately three times a year at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague to share strategic information related to cybercrime threats and trends in their respective business areas, as well as to agree on joint initiatives alongside law enforcement. A current list of members can be found here.

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