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European police points to crowd sourcing to fight cybercrime

Crowd sourcing could be the next tactic used to fight cybercrime, according to Rob Wainwright, head of the EU police intelligence agency Europol.

The extent of cybercrime is underestimated in the EU, he said. Criminal gangs are becoming more sophisticated in their use of technology, which has created an underground economy worth 100bn euros (£85bn) last year, reported the BBC.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security software firm Sophos, said while people should be encouraged to report online crime, there are difficulties in using a crowd-sourcing approach.

"Do we really want to encourage a lot of amateur Miss Marples? People might have their computers infected if they find themselves on sites with malware and let's not forget that this is also serious organised crime - who may retaliate if they know people are collecting data on them. Also, the police may be overwhelmed by the amount of data they are sent, so there are practical issues, too."

The real key is to educate people about online security and how to better protect themselves, added Cluley.

A spokesman from Europol said crowd sourcing was just one idea the body was considering as a means to combat cybercrime. It may also suggest creating an internet crime centre.

Early next year the body will publish a report examining ways to tackle the issue.


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