UNODC chief announces a comprehensive study on cybercrime

27 January 2012 - UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov announced that the organization has initiated a comprehensive study on the problem of cybercrime and the responses to it by Member States, the international community and the private sector.

Speaking at a forum on Global Risks 2012 at the World Economic Forum taking place this week in Davos, Mr. Fedotov announced that Member States will shortly receive a questionnaire from UNODC on cybercrime prevention, policy, legislation, law enforcement and criminal justice response, international cooperation and technical assistance. Results of the study will be presented to the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2013 and will inform Member States' responses to cybercrime.

"Many countries lack basic legislation that either criminalizes cybercrime or provides for the necessary procedural powers for law enforcement authorities to carry out specialized investigation, such as interception of online traffic data or use of computer forensic software," noted Mr. Fedotov.

The comprehensive study is in line with the UNODC mandate to contribute to a greater understanding of the threat of cybercrime; and to provide technical assistance and training to States to improve national legislation and build capacities to deal with cybercrime.

A 2010 UNODC report The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessmentrevealed that more than 1.5 million people a year suffer the theft of their identity for an economic loss estimated at US$ 1billion, and that cybercrime is endangering the security of nations; with power grids, air traffic and even nuclear installations having been penetrated.

"The same information technology that brings many benefits also offers new opportunities for crime for those able to exploit vulnerabilities in the global network, usually for financial gain. Criminals use technology to coordinate illicit trafficking and flows of money, abuse and exploit children; incite racial or religious hatred or perpetuate acts of terrorism," said Mr. Fedotov.

"UNODC is ready to provide technical assistance to countries upon request," said the Executive Director, adding that it is only through partnerships at national, regional and international level between governments, private sector (internet service providers and information technology companies); academia, intergovernmental organizations, that fast moving challenges of cybercrime can be addressed.

Mr. Fedotov noted that the increased involvement of developing countries in law enforcement cooperation networks will be crucial to the development of a global response to cybercrime.
In May 2011, the International Telecommunication Union and UNODC signed a memorandum of understanding to expand the range of services and support for countries requesting assistance in addressing cybercrime.

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