The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is launching a new cybercrime operations desk with UK funding to boost the capacity of 49 African countries to fight cybercrime. The five-year Stop Online Piracy (I-SOP) initiative project aims to tackle digital piracy following a significant increase in the number of incidences. The Africa desk will help shape a regional strategy to drive intelligence-led coordinated actions against cybercriminals and support joint operations. According to INTERPOL, digital piracy has heightened by more than 60 percent in some countries during the 12 months from April 2020 as millions of people have been confined due to the global Coronavirus pandemic. Cybercrime is among the most inexhaustible forms of international crime, with damages set to cost the global economy USD 10.5 trillion annually by 2025.
The new INTERPOL (I-SOP) will combat online piracy and crimes involving intellectual property rights infringement. Criminal networks that are successfully targeted will have their assets confiscated.
Under the initiative, law enforcement agencies will also work to identify and take apart illegal online marketplaces where pirated content is streamed and sold.
The project also hopes to increase public awareness of the risks that come with purchasing pirated digital content.
"Pirated content can be used to spread malware, trojans, and viruses which can result in firewalls and updates being disabled, resulting in enhanced security risks," said INTERPOL.
"Also has a negative impact on the creative sector and economies, ultimately affecting consumers," it added.