A Japanese investigator will head a new Interpol bureau whose main task is to support cybercrime investigations, it has been learned.
The new bureau, called the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation, will be established in Singapore in September and is expected to comprise about 70 officials, mainly those on loan to Interpol from investigative authorities in Asia. Interpol currently has only four officials in charge of investigations into cybercrimes, so strengthening international cooperation has been an important issue to address.
Noboru Nakatani, 44, who is on loan to Interpol from the National Police Agency, will be sent to Singapore to serve as the first chief of the new bureau there, according to sources.
The bureau will be the de facto “second headquarters” after Interpol’s general secretariat in Lyon, France, which is staffed by about 700 officials.
At the launch of the new bureau in September, about 35 officials from the public and private sectors will be in charge of operations related to cybercrimes and the number will be increased to 70 in two years, the sources said. The number of officials is scheduled to increase to 150 in 2016.
The officials at the start include those on loan from investigative authorities in various countries and 10 technical experts, including three Japanese personnel, from seven private information security companies. They will conduct analyses on computer viruses and regional trends in cybercrime.
In cooperation with their counterparts in Interpol’s offices in France and Argentina, the officials will keep an eye on cybercrimes 24 hours a day in three shifts. They will also monitor underground websites on which criminals exchange information with each other and share the surveillance information with Interpol member countries.
They also will give lectures on cybercrimes to investigators of Interpol member countries.
In February 2012, Interpol, in cooperation with police authorities in Colombia, Spain and other countries, arrested 25 members of the Anonymous hacker group, which had launched a cyber-attack against the Colombian Defense Ministry and other government organizations. After that, however, Interpol has not made arrests related to large-scale cybercrimes.
Interpol has rarely received international cooperation in investigating cybercrimes because there were only three officials in charge of cybercrimes until July 2012 and there are now only four.
“I want to make [the new bureau] the center for international cooperation to counter cybercrimes, which cross national borders,” Nakatani said.
The following are excerpts from the interview held with Noboru Nakatani at the general secretariat of Interpol in Lyon, France.
Yomiuri: International cybercrime has been increasing, but the number of exposed cases remains low.
Nakatani: Offenders can easily transcend national boundaries by gaining access through servers in various countries, but international cooperation among investigating authorities has not progressed sufficiently. This has been partly due to the fact that Interpol only has four people in charge of cybercrime, making it hardly functional.
In incidents involving the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation takes the lead in exposing them. When it comes to cases involving countries in Asia, however, we haven't been able to deal with them sufficiently.
Yomiuri: Damage from crimes involving illegal remittance of money via online banking services has been rising sharply in Japan. Most of the suspects are believed to be based in China.
Nakatani: Japanese police have almost never unearthed suspects based in foreign countries in cases of transnational cybercrime. This is because many other countries ignore Japan's requests to cooperate bilaterally.