Interpol said Tuesday it is making the war against cyber crime a main priority this year as online fraud crosses borders and increases in scope.
Khoo Boon Hui, president of the global police network, told a conference of 49 European member states that cyber crime is becoming more transnational. He pointed to a study published in March by the London Metropolitan University that found 80 percent of online crime is connected to cross-border organized gangs.
"Organized crime is now able to recruit members from countries without diplomatic ties to commit crimes overseas operating from temporary safe bases in third countries equipped with the latest technology," he said.
Hui said Malaysian police last month arrested more than 200 cyber criminals from China and Taiwan who operated online scams through two syndicates under the instructions of a common Taiwanese boss.
By using temporary safe bases around the far East, the online scammers netted billions of dollars via football and gambling websites along with credit card and bank fraud schemes, he said. He said hackers even penetrated the Interpol website this year.
Hui said cyber crime costs Europe about 750 billion euros, or more than $977 billion, a year. Israel alone deals with more than 1,000 Web attacks a minute, he said.
To help train police worldwide in online law enforcement, Hui said Interpol will open a cyber crime and digital security complex in Singapore in 2014.
This week's conference also addressed other issues including international terrorism, the drug trade, and human trafficking.