The Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) launched Sept. 1 to strengthen the fight against cybercrime in the European Union and beyond.

cybercrimetaskforcelogoCybercrime affects the military, defense industry, and governments as well as citizens, regardless of their national borders or jurisdictions. J-CAT offers the possibility to address the most impactful crimes affecting many states in a joint, well-concerted manner and with the assistance of EC3.

The European Cybercrime Center (EC3) is hosted by Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency.

The six-month pilot program, J-CAT, will coordinate international investigations with partners working side-by-side to take action against key cybercrime threats and top targets, such as underground forums and malware, including banking Trojans.

The J-CAT will be led by Andy Archibald, deputy director of the National Cyber Crime Unit from the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA).

The J-CAT was initiated by Europol’s EC3, the EU Cybercrime Taskforce, the FBI and the NCA, and the J-CAT comprises a team composed of Cyber Liaison Officers from committed and closely involved member States, non-EU law enforcement partners and EC3.

Key contributors to the intelligence pool will be the EU Member States via EC3, and other law enforcement cooperation partners.

So far, the United States, Austria, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom are part of the J-CAT. Australia and Colombia have also committed to the initiative.

Troels Oerting, head of the European Cybercrime Center, said: “The aim is not purely strategic, but also very operational. The goal is to prevent cybercrime, to disrupt it, catch crooks and seize their illegal profits. This is a first step in a long walk toward an open, transparent, free but also safe Internet. The goal cannot be reached by law enforcement alone, but will require a consolidated effort from many stakeholders in our global village.”

The J-CAT will gather data on specific criminal themes from national repositories and from relevant government and private partners, as well as transforming this raw data into actionable intelligence, and proposing targets and networks for investigations. It will cover all relevant areas like malware coding, testing, distribution, Botnets, Crime-as-a-Service, online fraud, intrusion and similar top-end crimes.