Latin America / Cybercrime

Representatives from 20 Latin American countries and the EU discuss the challenges of cybercrime

19 July 2021

More than a hundred people, representing 20 countries in Latin America and the EU, registered and took part in the online seminar organised by EL PAcCTO. Institutions including DG INTPA, DG HOME, AIAMP, Ameripol, IDB, the Council of Europe, the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, Eurojust and Europol were also present. Likewise, the webinar was attended by programmes including CyberNet and GLACY+ and the University of Alcalá de Henares.

The main objectives included taking stock of the work carried out by EL PAcCTO on cybercrime issues and setting challenges for the upcoming period. The EL PAcCTO Cyberexpertise Team presented itself as the team charged with carrying out the activities planned in this area. The team is multidisciplinary (police, prosecutors, and consultants) and bi-regional (Latin America and the European Union). It is also supported by Eurojust and Europol.

Participants from various institutions in Latin America and the European Union have committed to collaborating with the AIAMP CiberRed and CibEL@ (Cybercrime Europe Latin@merica) networks. Cibel@ is promoted by EL PAcCTO and comprises specialist police from both regions.

In addition, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama and Peru are in the process of creating new specialised public prosecution units to deal specifically with cybercrime, with the support of EL PAcCTO. They will join the existing units in Latin America and will be further added to in the future.

During the online seminar, progress was made in preparing a preventive campaign on cryptocurrencies, a presentation was made on the Cyberskills Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC4) being developed by CyberNet, GLACY+ reported on its activities regarding the Budapest Convention and progress was made in implementing cyberpatrols in each country, in collaboration between universities, police, public prosecutors and the private sector.

Cybercrime is one of the crimes that has increased most during the pandemic

Cybercrime is one of the main themes of the EL PAcCTO programme and it is also a crime that has increased during the pandemic, becoming one of the main threats in both regions. Latin America and the European Union share the same challenges:

  • Ransomware attacks against individuals, companies and official bodies;
  • Sexual exploitation online, especially of minors;
  • Denial of service attacks against companies and institutions, sometimes for ideological reasons;
  • Fraud relating to means of payment, both online and through electronic transaction points;
  • The illicit use of cryptocurrencies, their theft and fraudulent crypto mining;
  • Social engineering to commit scams and cyber theft;
  • Access to criminal cybermarkets on the deep internet. In recent years, large criminal bazaars have been closed, leading to a proliferation of smaller and more specialised cybermarkets;
  • Cyberterrorism, although at the moment it is focused more on propaganda and proselytism.

Finally, numerous post-pandemic recovery programmes envisage the modernisation of administrations, the digitisation of services and a technological push in the private sector. This is going to generate numerous vulnerabilities, which cybercrime, which already exists and knows no borders, will exploit, unless it is infiltrated at the source through a wide variety of initiatives.