Side event: New Challenges for Cybersecurity and Illicit Drug Trafficking and Consumption in the Era of Covid-19

Organized by the International Police Association, with the support of the Autonomous Non-Profit Organization “Smart Solutions Integration Agency”

Natalia Kulikova, Vice-president of the International Police Association Russian Section: The pandemic has touched all aspects of our lives, with adverse impacts of stability of economic systems everyone. Online communications have grown radically. Cybercrime opportunity. The number of cyberattacks has grown by 238% during the first months of 2021. And online trafficking. This is what we will discuss now. Please, use the chat of the conference for your questions. We will put answers on the question.

Yury Zhdanov, President of the International Police Association Russian Section : This is a very relevant topic that concerns the global community. I have been thinking of speaking in English but we have many Russian participants, so I decided to use the simultaneous interpreter. This topic is so important and timely. Even the UN have been paying a lot of attention to it. This April, there was a conference of a group of experts on the issues of cybersecurity in Vienna; evidence of global cyberthreat. If politicians, economists, scholars, have a consensus that cyberthreats are common for everyone, then in responding how to combat them, the global community are not able to find a consensus. What we had expected from that meeting in Vienna. The most important thing was that before the Vienna meeting, a report had been prepared that was considered in Vienna. ‘Generals keep getting prepared for past wars’. We thoroughly read the report considered there, it was on the website of UNODC, 28 pages. It was a decent document but failed to pay adequate attention to the new forms and models of crime, including expanding of the internet of things, blockchain based technologies and crypto-currencies, the use of AI and machine learning, and that was just one phrase in this report. In terms of numbers. 2020 was the year dominated by the pandemic. That was just another impetus for the growth of cyber-fraud. Many people started working from home. The direction of attacks changed. Services relying on remote activity protocols became the target, because not all businesses had been able to build cyber-security systems. 46% of all cyber-crime is cyber-fraud. A lot of it related to COVID. Losses of 3.6 trillion globally last year. We expect in 2021 the same losses to 6 trillion dollars. The global losses over the last 4 years, in the use of plastic cards 111 billion dollars; it would increase to 144 billion dollars. 1 in 10 calls to Russian individuals is made by fraudsters. The number of cases of cyber-fraud in Russia rose by 4500 cases. To my regret, the total cases resolved is going down continually. In 2020, 24%. Because cyber-crime is growing, the level of resolving crimes is going to be 22%. Only a minority of cases can be heard and criminals punished. We are short of well-trained police officers. Days ago, we had a meeting of police attachés of 10 countries operating in embassies in Moscow. From Germany, Czechia, Finland, Poland, Israel, Hungary and others. And we shared with them the capacity we have to control cybercrime vis-à-vis BerBank customers (largest Russian bank). Their analysis was very valuable (Technical difficulties for the blogger). We also expect that such attacks would grow in diversity. We asked colleagues who visited the Security Centre of the bank to share their experiences. We will publish a bilingual handbook in Russian and English with all information available. What to do to combat this legal challenge. For the entire Russia in 2020, there were 15million fraudulent calls made by criminals. Despite our public awareness campaign explaining the methods of social engineering. Criminals are smarter than ourselves. The psychologists working with criminals concoct convincing social engineering strategies to steal. We need to improve the financial literacy of people. 19 million criminal phone calls are expected to be done in 2021. They will use computers and robots; automated call centres, they will expand their schemes to hit on vulnerable points. They’ll rely on deepfake methods. Falsify biometrics. What can be done globally and what has Russia been doing? A cyber-war is looming ahead. On 12 April, Russia signed decree 2-12 on the foundations of international policy in information security. It explains the way Russia fights threats. It was done yesterday. We must have a permanent international body to counter cyberthreats. We need to treat that the way we treat a nuclear war. It is a war. The Foreign Ministry of Russia has been doing a lot in this regard. (Presentation of global technologies trends expected in the future according to Business Insider). In terms of emerging technologies, we need to get prepared: artificial intelligence, robots able to make decisions, 5G networks. The threats are biometric thefts, attacks through smart vehicles, cyberterrorism, losing control of AI… These are the key challenges. Challenges: fighting telephone fraud, advocacy for cyberliteracy, countering social engineering, prevention work on the darknet, identifying analysing and combatting new fraud schemes. 1.5 million cybercriminals in the world. Virus attacks grow by 3% monthly, social engineering and fishing by 4%, data theft by 3.5%… These are monthly numbers. From 1017-2020, the growth of cybercrimes in Russia has increased by 20 times. Thefts from bank cards in 2020 have grown 5 times, in 1 year alone. Similar growth in 2020 and this year. Compensation of damages is only 10%. High time to pool efforts to combat this evil. And the darknet, the key platform of fraud, 33 platforms, with 161 sellers, and over 2.3 million accounts. Neither Russia nor the world have taken adequate efforts to combat this. We need to train more professionals to work in this area. We’re lagging behind. Unless we pool efforts, the loss would be equal to a loss of using weapons of mass destruction.

Konstantin Kuntz, Integration Smart Solutions Agency: I work for NGO. We provide expert support for Russian NGOs to prevent addiction to drugs and re-socialisation of drug addicts. I will discuss aspects of information security concerning prevention of illicit drug trafficking using the internet. It’s been years we have combatted drugs. The problem of addiction is easy to prevent and rectify. To prevent the involvement of young people in drugs is reducing the availability of drugs, including online. We welcome the publishing of the book mentioned before because safer internet is a topic that has all to do with security where we work. What is the relationship between consumption of drugs and the internet. Every drug addict will make a decision to buy drugs. In more elderly people, they used to buy drugs in the strict. Now they advertise in the digital way through digital challenges and the pandemic has only accelerated this process. The annual report of 2020 emphasises this problem. According to their chart, the number of addicts buying drugs online grows every year. The number of people buying drugs from the internet from 23014-2020 has tripled. Another problem is polysubstance addiction. According to UNODC, over 30% of addicts rely on more than 1 substance. When buying online, a significant number has changed their drug of choice. It’s also concerning to identify new drug users through the darknet. The number has doubled from 2015-2020. The role of social networks, darknet, door-to-door deliveries, is becoming more important. The growing popularity of the internet has adverse features. People have become more vulnerable to cyber-fraud and faster/more convenient deliveries. Other addictions also concerning. People are spending more time online, they rely on mobile gadgets, they get addicted to computer gaming. The global threat in cybersecurity and illicit drug trafficking online is very relevant given the evolution of online resources. A study in 2020 suggested that number of internet users increased by 6 million in the last year in Russia. 99 million people use social media in Russia. In terms of the number of growth of users, Russia is ahead of the European average. Together with the Russian section of INTERPOl, we made a survey of the public opinion with over 600 responders. More are 18-25 / 25-39. 70% have kids or minors in the family. We asked about drugs but also internet addiction, cyberbullying, etc. We asked about interest in improving computer knowledge. Results? We looked at potential for addiction to internet. 70% said they spent 3-4 or more hours per day online, which correlates well with other data. Entertainment is number 1 activity, with 3+ hours. 82% spent 1-4+ hours online. Online time control causes trouble for over 30%. Over 35% of users crave being online. Over 14% feel anxiety when they have to go offline. 20% of respondents referred to headaches or insomnia because of their excessive use. 13% of users are aware they have a problem. In terms of content by third parties, what did they consider offensive or illicit? 22% found drug-related ads; 35% of minors found drug-related ads, sales or job offers (20%). Over 15% encounter information promoting violence, crime or misconduct. 12% encountered aggressive online bullying. 90% demand more information about internet safety. Half of respondents had never encountered such resources. Our survey also shows Russian users want to know more about personal safety issues. 70% said they were ready to engage in courses. Most suggest these could be mandatory or optional courses at school. Respondents would welcome if NGOs would post entertaining and educational material. Over 26% would volunteer for this.

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