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European banks team up with Europol in cybercrime fightback


Europe's banks have joined forces with Europol's cybercrime unit to try to combat the rising and increasingly sophisticated threat being posed by cyber criminals to financial firms.

The European Banking Federation (EBF), which represents about 4,500 banks, and Europol's European Cybercrime Centre - known as EC3 - said on Monday they had signed a memorandum of understanding to intensify cooperation between law enforcement and the financial sector.

Banks are facing frequent attacks from sophisticated hackers. Wall Street bank JP Morgan said last month it was working with U.S. law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible cyber attack, and Royal Bank of Scotland and its UK peers have suffered serious attacks by hackers that have disrupted systems.

"Banks are on the frontline in this fight every day. This type of crime evolves rapidly and becomes increasingly sophisticated," said Keith Gross, chair of the EBF's IT fraud committee.

Cybercrime attacks faced by banks include coordinated attempts to disrupt websites, payment card fraud, and attempts to infiltrate systems to steal money.

The agreement between the EBF, which is a federation of 32 national banking lobby groups, and EC3, which links cybercrime divisions of police forces in EU countries, will allow them to exchange know-how, statistics and strategic information.

Banks are typically working closely with national police forces to fight cybercrime, and the new agreement should widen that across Europe, the two sides said.