Almost three quarters of European households have Internet access, about a third of the citizens in the Union use home banking. Consequently, cybercrime is on the raise and cyber-criminals have created a profitable market around their illegal activities where credit card details can be sold between organised crime groups for less then a pound (Euro 1) per card, a counterfeited physical credit card for around GBP 116 (Euro140) and bank credentials for as little as GBP 50 (Euro 60). Cybercrimes are also targeting social media: up to 600 000 Facebook accounts are blocked every day, after various types of hacking attempts and over 6.700.000 distinct bot-infected computers were detected in 2009.
It is estimated that, worldwide, more than one million people become victims of cybercrime every day. The global turnover of cybercrime could reach an overall total of GBP 243 billion, making it more profitable than the global trade in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined. According to government figures, in the UK the cost of cybercrime is GBP 27 billion a year with GBP 3.1 billion born by citizens, GBP 2.2 billion by the government and businesses suffering the bulk of the burden by loosing GBP 21 billion.
The centre is expected to start operations in January next year. It will be established within the European police agency, Europol in The Hague (The Netherlands).