COVID-19 related cybercrime may have serious consequences for the security and stability of countries. It not only compounds the social, including health, and economic impact of the pandemic, but may further weaken the ability of public authorities to respond to cyberattacks.
This weakening of defences is likely to be further exploited for criminal purposes and possibly for terrorist use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as denial of service attacks against hospitals or interference with systems and data of health research facilities.
Criminal justice authorities need to undertake domestic investigations and engage in international cooperation to detect, investigate, attribute and prosecute the above offences and bring to justice those that exploit the COVID-19 pandemic for their own criminal purposes.
The Budapest Convention provides a framework for effective response to the current challenges faced by the criminal justice authorities and as well as the necessary rule of law safeguards, which can be made available to countries of Asia.
In this context, a specific set of activities to address COVID-19-related cybercrime in the Asia region will be implemented by the Cybercrime Programme Office of the Council of Europe (C-PROC) in the framework of the Octopus Project between 15 March 2021 – 14 March 2022, with financial support from the Government of Japan.
The outcome of these activities will be the strengthening of the criminal justice response to COVID-19 related cybercrime in the Asia region.
This is to be achieved through a research study on COVID-19 related cybercrime and responses by public authorities, including relevant legislation; through the sharing of experience of the criminal justice response; as well as through recommendations for further action.
These activities will also contribute to a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), promoted by the Council of Europe, in particular SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being, SDG 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies and SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals.
Council of Europe: Octopus Project
Council of Europe: Cybercrime and COVID-19
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals