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Victims of cybercrime [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for victims of cybercrime.


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Like 70 % of EU citizens you probably use the internet every day. Maybe you are one of the 86 % of Europeans feeling increasingly worried about cybercrime. Indeed the scale and sophistication of cyber-attacks have reached unprecedented levels. In some European countries, cybercrime accounts for half of all crimes committed.

Cybercrime takes various forms. Criminals can gain control over your devices using malware, with ransomware attacks being one of the main threats. They can steal or compromise your data and your identity, notably to commit online fraud. They also use Darknet to sell illicit goods and hacking services. Some cybercrimes, such as child sexual exploitation, cause serious harm to their victims.

Two worried roommates having problems buying on line sitting on a couch in the living room in a house interior

© Antonioguillem / Fotolia

To prevent and combat cybercrime, the European Union has developed a comprehensive cybersecurity policy (which has been undergoing an ambitious reform since 2017). A new cybersecurity law designed to enhance Europe’s cyber-resilience entered into force in May 2018. Specific EU laws criminalise online child abuse, attacks against information systems and non-cash payment fraud. A European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) helps EU countries to investigate online crimes and dismantle criminal networks. Together with private partners, the EC3 launched an initiative to help victims of ransomware to regain access without paying: www.nomoreransom.org. Through its Internal Security Fund, meanwhile, the EU contributes to the fight against cybercrime by funding concrete action around the EU (training, operational cooperation, the acquisition of equipment and setting up of IT systems).

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