Coronavirus: Organised crime postpones hits on enemies thanks to police presence
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    Coronavirus: Organised crime postpones hits on enemies thanks to police presence

    Cybercrime is increasingly popular while criminals are kept at home. © Council of Europe

    The coronavirus epidemic is having an unforeseen side-effect: organised criminal gangs appear to have suspended the assassination of their enemies, possibly as a result of the increased police presence on the streets.

    The news comes from Jan Struijs, president of the police union in the Netherlands, interviewed by De Telegraaf. Organised crime in the Netherlands is of course closely linked to gangs here, with drugs, arms and human trafficking oblivious to borders.

    A simple effect of the lockdown in both countries is the greatly reduced number of cars on the street, making it easier for police to spot a vehicle that has been signalled.

    The chance of being caught is much greater,” Struijs said. “Criminals are tremendously creative. Look at the sale of drugs. Thanks to the closing of the bars and the cancellation of events, a part of the market has vanished. What you see now, though, is an increase in the delivery of drugs by post.”

    However while the number of gang-related hits may be down, organised crime has not been chilling at home with Netflix. Police have warned of an increase in cyber-crime, other types of fraud, as well as the production of counterfeit goods.

    And in fact, Netflix has not escaped, as the Israeli group of ethical hackers Check Point has signalled.

    The cyber-criminals know we’re sitting at home, and they target people who don’t yet have a Netflix account,” said Christof Jacques of the group. “They create a domain or a website with the name Netflix in it, and try to lure you in that way. That’s something they can do with a banner ad, a website or a phishing email.”

    The simplest crime is to try to get your bank details, for example by offering a ridiculously cheap subscription. Some go one step further, by installing malware on your computer which allows them to take over control.

    The Belgian Centre for Cybersecurity (CCB) confirms that Netflix is popular with criminals.

    We advise people who receive suspect emails from Netflix to forward them to suspicious@safeoneweb.be,” said Katrien Eggers of the CCB.

    More information on remaining safe online can be found at the safeonweb site.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times