The 2023 World Economic Forum (WEF) is drawing attention to the relatively new global partnership against cybercrimes called the Cybercrime Atlas initiative. As world leaders tackle policies with global repercussions, the establishment of a cybercrime atlas platform is getting the discussion it deserves.
Worldwide partnerships or collaboration on cybersecurity are nothing new. There have been multiple attempts to bring the international community together toward more effective cybercrime prevention and mitigation. The WEF-driven endeavor, however, is notable because of the economic powerhouses backing it.
What Is The Cybercrime Atlas Initiative?
The initiative seeks to create a platform for leading cybercrime researchers, law enforcement agencies, and businesses from different parts of the world, where they can collaborate on policy crafting, share information and insights, and spot opportunities to undertake coordinated actions against threats. It also aims to coordinate joint efforts to comprehensively map the global cybercrime landscape.
The Cybercrime Atlas was officially announced in the 2022 RSA Conference in San Francisco in June last year, but information about it was already posted on the WEF website in May. One of the highlights of its initial activities is the analysis of 13 criminal groups, an effort to better understand adversarial forces to be more prepared against their attacks and the threats they pose in the future.
Today, the Cybercrime Atlas initiative is a vital part of the WEF goal of addressing the evolving global cybercrime problem. It seeks to disrupt cybercrime networks through strong public-private partnerships.
Organizations can take advantage of this new and broadly-supported effort to keep up with and address cybercrime activities by integrating it into their security posture management. The information and insights generated by the platform as well as the collaborative efforts it jumpstarts will help bolster enterprise cyber defenses
How The Cybercrime Atlas helps
For now, there are no cybersecurity platforms that integrate the Cybercrime Atlas into their system. It is not difficult to identify the ways it can help enhance security postures, though.
For one, the Cybercrime Atlas can supplement the threat intelligence gathered by cybersecurity teams from various sources. It will be a free source for threat information that improves visibility into cybercrime operations, helping penetration testers or red and purple teams in understanding how cyber attack perpetrators operate.
Also, the Cybercrime Atlas emphasizes the understanding of threats, not just the knowledge of threats. The atlas is not a mere repository of threat information. It is a platform where leading cybersecurity experts around the world analyze and discuss various threats to provide insights and recommendations that augment cyber defenses.
It serves as an intelligence pool wherein experts share knowledge on the latest adversary tactics and techniques, cutting-edge threat analysis strategies and tools, and cybercriminal group identities and operations.
Cybersecurity analysts involved in this initiative collaborate to map the global cybercrime ecosystem, identify targets of concern, and provide technical support to authorities as they address cybercrime on the legal, social, political, and economic fronts. They may not directly work with enterprises, but the insights and recommendations they generate will be helpful in shaping their defenses.
As the World Economic Forum wrote in an article on disrupting cybercrime networks, “the Cybercrime ATLAS project aims to become a hub that links cybersecurity experts and encourages and supports sharing knowledge on analysis techniques, new tools, new adversary behavior, and strategic insights.”.
Moreover, the Cybercrime Atlas helps business leaders in better understanding the threats their organizations are facing. As revealed in WEF’s Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2023, “cyber leaders still struggle to clearly articulate the risk that cyber issues pose to their organizations in a language that their business counterparts fully understand and can act upon.”
This results in confusion and a lack of direction in addressing existing and emerging threats. Insights from the Cybercrime Atlas can be useful in addressing this challenge.
How Different Is It From MITRE ATT&CK?
The WEF Cybercrime Atlas appears to be comparable to the MITRE ATT&CK and other cybersecurity frameworks. Both are aimed at providing authoritative threat intelligence and a better understanding of adversarial tactics and techniques. They also provide detailed insights and guidance on how to detect, mitigate, remediate, and prevent attacks.
What makes the Cybercrime Atlas different, however, is its emphasis on going after cyber criminals. Beyond thoroughly understanding the cybercriminal mind, it seeks to disrupt cybercrime networks and their related activities.
It helps organizations prepare for the attacks and serves as a tool in going after perpetrators of various cyber offenses including phishing, data theft, scams, the dissemination of malware, as well as misinformation and public opinion manipulation designed to influence social, economic, and political outcomes.
The World Economic Forum aims to form a public-private partnership that actively combats cybercrimes. Aside from the cybersecurity experts, the partnership also brings in law enforcement agencies, cybersecurity firms, corporations, SaaS service and platform providers, and nonprofits to work together in reducing or eliminating the ability of cybercriminals to pursue their felonious goals.
The World Economic Forum seeks to use the Cybercrime Atlas as one of its vital tools in finding cybercrime organizations and holding them to account. There will be investigations, takedowns, and prosecutions. To systematically address crimes in cyberspace, the WEF seeks to raise the costs and risks of conducting cybercrime. In other words, it also intends to threaten threat actors.
Going Beyond Security Posture Management
It is unclear how the Cybercrime Atlas will be used in improving security posture management. Again, it has yet to be integrated into existing cybersecurity platforms. However, its potential to be a useful supplement to existing security systems is undeniable.
It can be an additional authoritative threat intelligence source. It can help with the detection, mitigation, remediation, and prevention of attacks. Also, it aids threat and attack comprehension and preparation.
The Cybercrime Atlas can be a more potent tool against cybercrime compared to existing cybersecurity frameworks and collaborative actions. This is because it is actually designed to go after the cybercriminals through investigations, actual attempts to stop cyber criminals from committing crimes, and the filing of lawsuits and arrests of cybercriminals.
With the backing of world leaders and the most influential businesses and organizations worldwide, there is ample optimism as to what the Cybercrime Atlas can achieve.
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