Interview with Mr Martin Coyne, Chief Executive Officer of Digitpol, a Cyber Crime Investigation agency headquartered in the Netherlands.

We have teamed up with the CEO of Digitpol, Mr Coyne at Digitpol’s head office in the Netherlands. The company is a licensed and accredited criminal investigation agency specializing in operational support and investigative services to fight against transnational crimes. They cooperate closely with Law Enforcement agencies and Homeland Security.

With a cyber crime happening once every ten minutes, and with it costing more than $445 billion each year, Digitpol has become a major fighting force in the modern world. Experts believe that by 2025 the cost of cyber crime could cost as much as $10.5 trillion a year, and without the likes of Digitpol, that figure could be more.

With cyber crime being big business, and with corporate cyber crime victims doubling in five years, we decided to talk to the experts and learn about cyber crime and how they are fighting it. This is what Digitpol had to say.

1. We are always hearing on the media that China and Russia are behind many of the cyber-attacks, what truth is there in that? As an investigation agency, we can’t comment on such issues in the media. We operate on facts and evidence.

2. The UK Government after a lot of interference by Donald Trump made a U-Turn on Huawei involvement in the 5G network due to national security, do you believe that the UK Government were right to ban Huawei or do you believe the security of the UK was not at risk from the China owned company. As an investigation agency we cannot provide an opinion on these types of cases, without seeing any facts, there is no comment.

3. It was reported that the global cost of cyber-crime was around $445 billion, do you agree with that figure? We believe it may be higher, specifically in 2019 as it was proven that many data breaches were not reported and many crimes were not investigated by the Police, in 2020 crime or internet enabled crime has increased since the COVID19 and due to the number of people that will continue to work from home, cyber crimes will increase.

4. Do you think the figure is so high because cyber criminals are becoming more advanced? The figure is high due to the volume of internet activity, online shops, most business transactions are online and of course cyber criminals constantly look for vulnerabilities.
Digitpol is the number 1 in the market of cyber investigative services and digital forensics, so how are you helping your clients to fight cyber-crime? Digitpol provides assistance to business that have suffered a cyber-attack, data breach or theft of funds, when Digitpol steps in to assist we fast track all of the investigative steps such as the preservation and collection of evidence, examination of logs to identify how the attack took place and whom is effected, we issue a police approved report and we provide all the data to the Police, our role is often completed before the Police starts the case.

5. What is the day to day role of your company? As the director I am daily involved with the team leaders all the units, actively participating in the many different projects we have, they range from R&D to cyber security, meetings with our partners and I am also hands-on with the investigations teams, as an investigator I often join new cases and take up the contact point with the clients. Each morning I join the briefings, so I have an oversight of the cases and developments.

6. What are the most common signs that a business is the target of cyber criminals? The most common sign is unsuccessful persistent login attempts to a server, email, O365 or the main admin control of the organisation, other signs can include identifying anonymous IP visitors on the company’s website and several visits to the management profiles. Each business is configured differently, we advise clients to monitor failed login attempts and visitor activity as cyber criminals targeting business have typically researched the management before, they carried out email or phishing related crimes.

7. What is the top cyber threat a business owner faces today? The top threat is still the human error, the top cyber crime is still email phishing attacks or business email compromise and office365 is the top target.

8. Do small business owners face the same level of cyber security issues as big companies? This depends on the cloud or online structure they use, if a small business is operating online, yes, they are a target.Email is the most used form of communication, but it is also one of the areas where people are at risk of cyber-crime, what can people do to reduce the risk of cyber-crime through emails? A strong security policy is essential in the fight against cyber crime, a policy that alerts administrators in real-time of changes such as rule creations, rule changes, user password changes and password login from different IP, amongst other things such as firewalls and spam detection, the security settings and configuration play an important role.

9. Last year there was a report that said Over 90% of information breaches start with an email, is that still the case? Yes this is still very much the case, fraudsters first send out a mail which looks similar to an authentic email, when the victim falls for it, fraudsters then proceed, indeed most email fraud cases start with a fraudulent email.

10. Human errors are still the top cause of data breaches, what can be done to reduce that? Cyber Security Awareness Training of staff within organisations is essential, constant training of cyber security teams and IT administrators all plays a role to reduce the risks. Persons whom handle invoices or accounts must be trained as they are a target. Hardware and security are important, but humans need to understand the risk of responding to a mail or clicking a link.

11. How has the risk of cyber-security changed over the years? The risk is always there and always changes, cyber criminals have found ways to bypass security at hardware level such as chipset flaws and vulnerabilities in the cloud, hackers have found ways to trick humans into handing over credentials, this is a new risk, new bugs or flaws appear daily in hardware and machine environments and hackers are fast to exploit them, so the risk has changed from software to hardware and to human errors.

12. How has the rise of cyber security threats change the services that you offer? At Digitpol we have a clear vision of the new modus operandi from the cases we receive, so we are constantly adjusting to detect and fight against such treats.

13. What is a common misconception about cyber security threats? Business owners often believe that online applications are secure out of the box to protect against cyber threats, this is not the case. All applications need to be configured for security and polices, often the misconception about cyber security threats is at CEO level within organisations and they don’t take cyber security seriously until there is an attack.

14. Do you find that some cyber security threats come from current or previous employees of a business? These types of threats exist for many years and of course this can happen.

15. How can an organisation protect itself against cyber-security threats? The security policy and settings are vital for every business, for example office365 cloud is not secure out of the box to protect against cyber threats, in this case the policies need to be configured and an administrator needs to be appointed to manage the threats, the question depends per organisation and the number of endpoints. The short answer is cyber security training for the staff, awareness within the organisation, strong polices, strong security configurations and a real-time security operation centre, firewalls, and layers of security applications. At Digitpol we can assist clients secure their network and set up policies and security, we also have a SOC and can provide security administration.

16. Cyber-security threats are changing all the time, what can we expect in 2021? Due to the number of more online applications, more people working from home with weaker security we can expect a lot more remote access and hacking incidents, malware, extortion, ransomware, email fraud and also fraud in investments is rapidly on the rise.

17. Digitpol was awarded by Enterprise Security in the Top 10 Digital Forensics Technology Services Companies in Europe, how did that make you feel? Digitpol has large selection of forensic tools, we are the most comprehensive agency for phone forensics, computer forensics, drone forensics, vehicle forensics and ability to examine most digital devices so we were not surprised to be in the list but we were very honoured they selected us. We had no idea we would be picked.

18. You work closely with Law Enforcement agencies and Homeland Security, how many of those cases result in an arrest and conviction? Yes that right, we cooperate with Law Enforcement globally, they are always priority in each case and our forensic reports or collection of evidence is supplied to them, Digitpol provides what we call investigative support, this involves working between the victim and the police, there have been many arrests and convictions.

19.You worked in the Dutch Police before you founded Digitpol what is like? Yes, that’s correct, I worked for the Rotterdam Police, it’s now called the national police, district Rotterdam, the Dutch Police Force is very modern and excellent place to work. The force is very focused on tomorrows crimes and internally a lot of innovation takes place to fight crimes. A great experience and I was very honoured to have worked there.

20. What is next for Digitpol? We have a lot of new projects in 2020, new programs are been developed and we are expanding to more countries. We are cooperating more and more with financial institutions and with Law Enforcement Joint Financial Investigation Units because financial crimes are high on the agenda, crimes such as money laundry and crypto frauds.

About Digitpol:

Mr Martin Coyne told, there is no place in society for fraudsters and that no stone is been left unturned to prosecute fraudsters, this is very challenging work but a lot of progress is already made, Police and Investigation teams are working 24/7 to fight financial fraud.

The Police and Investigation teams are working 24/7 to fight financial fraud. Martin Coyne told, jointly we strongly advise all victims to report every online fraud case to their nearest Police station.

Digitpol is a licensed and accredited criminal investigation agency specializing in operational support and investigative services to fight against transnational crimes. Digitpol is one of the world’s leading providers of Forensics, Intelligence, Cyber Crime Investigation, Cybersecurity and Investigation services. Digitpol cooperates closely with Law Enforcement agencies and Homeland Security. Digitpol is headquartered in The Netherlands.

Contact: Digitpol, Boogschutterstraat 1 – 43, 7324AE, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
Email: Phone: +31558448040