PROPHETS recognises that there is a blurring of the lines between aspects of terrorism, organised crime and contemporary cybercrime, driven in part by legal and political need to be seen to be combatting such crimes. Increasingly, cyberspace is used as a vector through which to illegally fund, recruit, train, and incite individuals against European social and democratic ideals, and, it is important to note, these phenomena extend far beyond Jihadist terrorism, but also into the violent extremism of the Far Right and Far Left at both the EU and international level. Recent events, such as the Charlottesville, Virginia incident of domestic terrorism, have highlighted the need for further research into improving our understanding, and the development of tools to combat the process of online behavioural radicalisation. To address this, PROPHETS is targeting the four following strategic outcomes:
This outcome will identify the intelligence and expertise required for the ‘intelligence-led police approach’ to cybercrime and create publishable materials to enhance knowledge sharing of different aspects of behavioural analysis, criminal trends, and cybercriminal vulnerabilities and threats between LEAs and practitioners. A number of evidence-based behavioural radicalisation case studies will be adapted to form use cases that will feed into the user requirements for the development of the technical platform, providing situational awareness for illegal and concerning upcoming trends and behaviours online. These will be concentrated around the areas of cybercrime and cyberterrorism actions, enabling actions, and; vulnerable and influential targets and users.
The development of advanced open-source tools to form a larger PROPHETS platform will facilitate joint exercises and investigations between LEAs and security focused stakeholders to analyse cases from a multi-agency and multi-disciplinary perspective. These tools will include the capacity to outline the cost/benefits of the responses, with the objective to better allocate investigative resources where needed and select different strategic options to prevent, prosecute, disrupt and/or respond to incidents of cybercrime investigations. The platform will be iteratively developed alongside WP6 validation exercises, to ensure the concepts are transformed into feasible tools for immediate integration into LEAs whom have helped shape their design and functionality.
By identifying best practices and encapsulating them in policies, PROPHETS will aim to reduce the “chain effects” during critical and major cyber events by adapting and improving the knowledge of LEAs, intelligence agencies and the judiciary to the challenges posed by the new virtual criminal ecosystem based upon public-private governance. Examples of such chain effects include increases in radicalisation and recruitment methods following terrorist attacks, successful cyber data leakages and instances of paying out to ransomware.
PROPHETS will proactively raise stakeholders and citizen’s awareness of the risks and implications connected to public perceptions of cyber threats and vulnerabilities. The policy toolkit will also address the research-policy nexus, on how to better exploit results of innovation through vertical and horizontal practitioners focusing on policy-enabling bodies (EU institutions, COSI, SCIFA, Working Parties, security and judiciary networks like RAN, EJN, etc.)