AFP targets BEC, phishing with new cybercrime centre

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AFP targets BEC, phishing with new cybercrime centre

JPC3 to launch in March 2022.

The Australian Federal Police will establish a new cybercrime coordination centre to clamp down on business email compromise (BEC) and other phishing attacks.

The Joint Policing Cybercrime Coordination Centre (JPC3), which is set to launch in March 2022, will work with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to investigate cyber criminals.

It will be headed up by assistant commissioner Justine Gough, who will become the AFP’s first full-time executive dedicated to countering cybercrime.

Gough, who will also operate the AFP’s new Cyber Command, currently leads the AFP’s Eastern Command – the largest command in the country – and Cybercrime Operations.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the JPC3 will “super charge” the government’s efforts to “seize criminals’ money and assets, put offenders behind bars, and protect... data”.

“This AFP-led cybercrime centre will be cutting edge, and will ensure Australia is leading the world on cyber security,” she said.

Gough said the JPC3 will “target at scale those cyber criminals who trick firms using BEC or unleash mass phishing attacks”.

She said Cybercrime Operation had charged eight offenders with 21 offences and carried out 163 disruption activities in the past financial year.

She recently oversaw an operation, dubbed ‘Operation Zinger’, which prevented almost $24 million being stolen from superannuation accounts.

As part of the operation, the AFP identified a criminal marketplace dealing in the online sale of cybercrime software and later disrupted the operation by remediating 25 systems.

The disruption activity prevented 681 matched super accounts attached to members and 35 matched super accounts attached to employers from being accessed.   

“The AFP, with our partners, are disrupting highly-sophisticated criminal syndicates both onshore and offshore,” Gough added.

“The AFP has investigated a large range of cybercrime methods with business email compromise, intrusion against industry/government and malware at the top of this list.”

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