Tuesday, 02 April 2019 04:04

Riga (Latvia) - Prevention and Combating of High – Tech Crime in the Baltic region

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European Commission Internal Security fund project implemented by the State Police of Latvia was and is trying to tackle one of the biggest security problems of the 21st century - cybercrime.  

Project was written in line with the recent priorities of the European Commission Internal Security strategy [1]and national level documents putting prevention and fighting of cybercrime as one of the top tasks for law enforcement and community as a whole.  It is important to note, that nowadays almost all crimes have been conducted with the help of internet and are internet related, but for law enforcement people, understanding of the word cybercrime is more related with serious attempts of breaking through the protected IT systems.

However, the workload of national police services and the necessary knowledge about the topics has to be increased constantly. 

Project carried out by Latvian state police had three main tasks:

  1. to raise technical  capacity of the police to investigate cybercrime and improve possibilities to gather proofs and obtain data from electronic devices
  2. to invest in education of police experts in criminal investigation and public order police  - several courses were organized locally and internationally and
  3. to carry out concrete modern crime prevention activities and to carry out media campaign called “Do not share it with strangers!” 

As the main audience of the readers of these news are interested in crime prevention issues, more information will be provided about the third aim of the project. 

Not all police services in Europe have their mobile applications, but these new communication methods are needed to reach target audience of police and to improve communication between police and citizens. However, State police of Latvia has its own mobile application called MANA DROŠĪBA and it is available online for free. During the project additional chapter on cyber security was created for the use of people to gain the knowledge about the all aspects on cybercrime by filling in tests as well as use the possibility to have chat simulation and send screenshots to inform police about the crime or abuse of their rights. During the project, crime prevention activities took place in schools, summer festivals and in public media to advertise this possibility and new initiative of police. Initiative was also noticed by Latvian internet association as one of the top 3 best IT initiatives of the year 2018.  

In the frame of the project the PUBLIC SECTOR CAMPAIGN "Don't Share it with Strangers" was organized and implemented[2] by using also social networks Facebook and youtube.com. 

The campaign "Don't Share it with Strangers", was based on the premise that one should be as cautious on the Internet as in the physical environment, calling attention to various risks and consequences.  We wouldn't share our personal details with strangers just met on street but we often never hesitate to do that on internet. Idea was to recreate common cybercrimes in real life to spark interest in an indifferent public, and generate data and content for further communication.   

The campaign's first phase focused on awareness and raising of discussion. Fake profile of the beautiful girl named Jana Sila was created and in a very short period of time she had more than 1600 fiends in Facebook. Only a very people asked if they have met the girl in real life. No male Facebook friends asked if they have met her in real life. Besides, special Youtube “Expert” called Imants Hakerovskis was created and filmed special videous on Youtube about how he is cheating people in the internet. Special actor was telling the stories without revealing that he is actually a part of campaign organized by the State police. His real identity was revealed only afterwards. Positive and in the meantime negative side of the Imants Hakerovskis was the fact, that he was quite quickly blocked by the youtube which was good and showed that they actually monitor the content of what is being published and watched online. 

Besides, a social experiment in a cafe to demonstrate the amount of carelessly published personal data was organized. We have offered a free coffee by asking people to fill in a questionnaire with their personal data. Most of the people filled it in, only few asked why these data are asked or refused to give them. All the project related published information is still available online[3], but unfortunately, only in Latvian. 

Total Results:

  • Contraversial series by Imants Hackerovsky were watched for 42k times and reached 748 shares
  • Over 3 million media impressions, including 51 publications and 400,000 organic reach in social media
  • 46% increase in the mobile app "My Safety" users.

Ilze Berzina – Rukere, project leader 

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[1]  Internal Security strategy availbe online on http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9798-2015-INIT/en/pdf 

[2] Public procurement proceedure was conducted to select the best partner for State police to carry out campain. The winners were companies MRS group  (webpage www.mrsgrupa.lv) and Dingo and Schwarz (https://dingoschwarz.com)  and compain was carried out by them 

[3] All the information is avaible online on https://www.delfi.lv/news/nedalies-ar-svesinieku/

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