The International Criminal Police Organisation, INTERPOL, is creating a new cybercrime operations desk with UK funding to boost the capacity of 49 African countries to fight cybercrime.
In a statement, the agency said the Africa desk will help shape a regional strategy to drive intelligence-led coordinated actions against cybercriminals and support joint operations.
Speaking at the CYBERUK conference in London, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are working with like-minded partners, to make sure that the international order that governs cyber activity is fit for purpose.
“Our aim should be to create cyberspace that is free, open, peaceful and secure, which benefits all countries and all people.
“We want to see international law respected in cyberspace, just like anywhere else. And we need to show how the rules apply to these changes in technology, the changes in threats, and the systemic attempts to render the internet a lawless space.
“The UK’s support for INTERPOL’s cyber initiative in Africa underlines its commitment to this fight and will be an important piece of the global security architecture to combat cybercrime.”
It also stated that cybercrime is one of the most prolific forms of international crime, with damages set to cost the global economy USD 10.5 trillion annually by 2025.
A 2017 assessment coordinated by INTERPOL with partners and member countries in Africa found that each act of Internet fraud targeting businesses enabled cybercriminals to steal an average of USD 2.7 million from companies and USD 422,000 from individuals.
Also, Interpol's Secretary-General, Jürgen Stock said, “With more than 4.5 billion people online, more than half of humanity is at risk of falling victim to cybercrime at any time, requiring a unified and strong response."
The creation of INTERPOL’s new cybercrime desk comes at a time when cybercriminals are attacking the computer networks and systems of individuals, businesses and global organizations when cyber defences might be more vulnerable due to the shift of focus to the pandemic crisis.
The project will provide opportunities to take regular pulse checks on cybercrime in Africa and to publish annual threat landscape assessments that will underpin operational activities.
Almost 3 million pounds from the UK has been set aside for the 3-year initiative. The Africa cybercrime initiative will be implemented by the Cybercrime Directorate at the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore, the agency said.