Trend Micro and INTERPOL: Teaming Up Again to Fight Global Cybercrime

At Trend Micro we have a long history of partnering with law enforcement whenever called upon. We believe that the skills and resources of the private sector can offer allow law enforcement to surge and scale on any particular threat. Combatting the threat posed by transnational cyber criminal groups is ultimately a shared responsibility and only by leveraging the strength of public/private partnerships can we collectively reduce global cyber risk.

The latest in a long line of our collaborative efforts with INTERPOL was revealed by the organization on Monday. We helped support a major operation to crack down on cybercrime in the ASEAN region, resulting in the identification of nearly 9,000 Command and Control (C&C) servers and hundreds of compromised websites.

Public-private partnerships

Despite the best efforts of law enforcement to stem the exponential growth of cybercrime, the truth is that it’s an uphill struggle. Transnational cybercriminals these days are well resourced, determined and agile. The evolution of cybercriminal undergrounds have created a Crime-as-a-Service industry in recent years that has served as a capacity building area where low-skilled criminals go to plan and execute their attacks. Some estimates claim the cost to the global economy could even reach $6 trillion by 2021.

That’s where public-private partnerships come in. The cybersecurity industry and partners like Trend Micro spend their days researching and monitoring online threats to keep customers around the globe secure. Our 450 threat and vulnerability researchers are doing exactly this on a daily basis, specifically our Forward Looking Threat Research (FTR) team.

Over the years we’ve partnered on too many law enforcement initiatives to mention. But one of the most valuable partnerships we have is with INTERPOL. It’s sounds obvious, but the value of this organization is its global reach and commitment – made even stronger by the opening of its Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore a few years back. Cybercrime has no borders and neither must our efforts to disrupt, degrade or deny the criminals behind them freedom of movement and the ability to monetize their attacks.

Back in 2014 we signed a three-year agreement to provide tools, training and human resources to INTERPOL. That’s led to some great results, including the disruption of an international BEC network last year with the arrest of its Nigerian boss. Most recently we teamed up with other private sector players to support a new operation led from the IGCI, which brought together investigators from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

We helped with support in three key areas:

  1. Providing malicious URLs hosted in the ASEAN region, linked to illegal goods, hacking groups, underground forums, child exploitation materials and more
  2. Training on how to find malicious servers with threat intelligence
  3. Operational support, including analysis of seized server logs

It’s still early days in this operation, but already the help of Trend Micro and other private sector organizations has helped INTERPOL’s Cyber Fusion Centre produce 23 Cyber Activity Reports outlining actionable recommendations for individual national authorities. What’s more, we’ve helped to identify nearly 270 websites infected with malware, including some government portals, and 8,800 C&C servers across eight countries. These have been responsible for spreading financial malware, ransomware and spam, and launching damaging DDoS attacks.

The next step

Trend Micro is deeply committed to protecting our customers and public- private partnerships are critical to our shared responsibility model.  Only by continuing our efforts in directly supporting international law enforcement and expanding our threat information sharing programs can we do our part to deny all cyber threat actors freedom to operate.

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