Ireland to join new global force fighting cybercrime
Gardai are to join a new international task force tackling serious cybercrime.
The joint unit is based at Europol headquarters in The Hague and is under the day-to-day control of its cybercrime head of operations Paul Gillen, a former senior garda officer.
Gardai have agreed to take part in the force, which is known as J-CAT, on an ad-hoc basis to investigate cases that are linked to Ireland.
A decision on joining J-CAT full-time will be taken after an initial six-month pilot scheme has been completed, but will also depend on funding.
Europol officers said last night that they had selected a number of cybercrimes for a priority list to be tackled during the pilot and they included cases that were relevant to this country.
The initiative to set up J-CAT came from the European Cybercrime Centre, EC3 at Europol, the FBI and the UK's national crime agency. Each participating country has seconded an officer to join the force for six months.
The US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Colombia, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain have committed to the body.
Other agencies, including the British security services and the immigration authorities in several countries, will also contribute intelligence where necessary.
Cases including international hacking, botnet attacks on large companies and government-linked organisations, on-line fraud, credit card crime, malware coding, large-scale thefts, and cybercrime assaults on banking systems. Mr Gillen's unit has seen a rapid increase in big international cases and J-CAT is aimed at boosting law enforcement co-operation.
Mr Gillen was appointed head of operations last year. He was previously in charge of the garda computer crime unit, as well as setting up a worldwide education programme for police officers tackling cybercrime and international paedophile rings.