Italy: Online crime up during pandemic, green pass a target

Italian postal police report 5,434 cyberattacks in 2021

04 January, 18:35

    ROME - Online crimes increased amidst the pandemic in Italy in 2021, with a spike in child pornography crimes such as sexual exploitation of minors and online solicitation that led to 137 arrests in the country, a 98% increase, and a total of 2,539 sites blocked.

    In addition, there was a proliferation in the falsification and marketing of illegal green passes, in some cases using scams, as well as hacking into regional health systems to enter data relating to vaccinations and Covid tests that were never performed, in order to obtain the issue of green pass certificates.

    In 2021, there were a total of 5,434 attacks on critical national IT systems, both public and private, managed by CNAIPIC, the specialized cybersecurity branch of the Italian Postal and Communications Police (Polposta), which issued 110,524 alerts and pressed charges against 187 people.

    In the past year, the Postal and Communications Police had to prepare a new form of monitoring against the "complex galaxy of No-vax and No Green pass movements".

    This monitoring led to charges against 101 people and the checking of 300 active No-Vax channels on messaging platforms and websites, resulting in the closure of many Telegram channels that incited violence against institutions and organised unauthorised events or demonstrations.

    An increase in financial cybercrime was another consequence of the pandemic, brought on by the spread of remote working.

    In 2021 in Italy there were 126 cyber attacks on the financial systems of large and medium-sized enterprises, for a total of over 36 million euros illegally stolen through complex telematic fraud, 17 million of which was recovered by Polposta.

    There was also a 27% increase in Polposta cases tackling phishing, smishing and vishing, techniques used to illegally steal personal and banking data, for a total of over 18,000 thefts of access credentials for online banking systems, credit card numbers and private cryptocurrency wallet keys, for which charges were brought against 781 people.

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