Author: Niall Hearty 2 February 2024
Niall Hearty of Rahman Ravelli outlines the latest French approach to tackling cybercrime.
A new French agency has been created to investigate cybercrime.
The organisation, known as OFAC, is based within France’s National Police. Its aim is to boost France’s efforts to combat large-scale cyberattacks and cybercrime, including online fraud.
OFAC replaces two investigative bodies within the National Police that had been tackling technology-related crime. It can open investigations into suspected cybercrime under the supervision of prosecutors or an investigating judge and will train and assist investigators from other enforcement agencies that are working on cyber cases.
The new agency will gather intelligence and prepare reports on cyber threats that it has been alerted to by the public and foreign agencies. It will be the main contact point in cross-border investigations and will control the seeking of information from foreign agencies regarding possible offences and the location of suspects.
The Ministry of Interior, which oversees the National Police, has appointed Nicolas Guidoux to head OFAC. He had been a deputy director at the Ministry of the Interior with responsibility for cybercrime.
The creation of the new agency follows fears about cyber threats regarding France’s hosting of the Olympics this summer and ransomware attacks on French institutions, such as town halls and hospitals.
French lawyers have said that OFAC may lead to more efficient identification and reporting of cybercrimes – at a time when companies are becoming increasingly fearful of such attacks. But some commentators have said the new agency’s success will depend on what resources it is given by the government.
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