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This study conducted by EUROPOL provides a law enforcement focused assessment of evolving threats and key developments in the area of cybercrime. In previous versions of the IOCTA it was highlighted that the persistent nature of various modi operandi meant that changes of cybercrime threats were rarer than commonly perceived. Last year’s IOCTA captured the landscape by reflecting on how cybercrime is an evolution rather than a revolution.

In this year’s report, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains visible. The accelerated digitalisation related to the pandemic has significantly influenced the development of a number of cyber threats, including:

  • Ransomware affiliate programs enable a larger group of criminals to attack big corporations and public institutions by threatening them with multi-layered extortion methods such as DDoS attacks. 
  • Mobile malware evolves with criminals trying to circumvent additional security measures such as two-factor authentication.  
  • Online shopping has led to a steep increase in online fraud. 
  • Explicit self-generated material is an increasing concern and is also distributed for profit.
  • Criminals continue to abuse legitimate services such as VPNs, encrypted communication services and cryptocurrencies. 

Skills intelligence publication details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital skills for ICT professionals and other digital experts.
Digital skills for all
Digital technology / specialisation
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) not further defined
Geographical sphere
EU institutional initiative
Publication type