The United States has been one such partner, dedicated to supporting the fight against cybercrime in the region. In August, for example, U.S. authorities collaborated with Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, and Argentina to help train security officers. That same month, the U.S. government’s Secret Service Agency, in collaboration with Brazilian authorities, held a major training event on cybercrime in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.
The event, coordinated by the Minas Gerais State Secretariat for Justice and Public Security (SEJUSP) and the U.S. Consulate in Belo Horizonte, brought together 100 public security agents from Minas Gerais and representatives from the Federal Revenue Service, Public Prosecutor’s Office, Central Bank, and Brazilian Federation of Banks, among others.
“We all have to be very aware of what is happening in the virtual world and on the internet. This requires more and more collaboration between agencies and borders,” said U.S. Consul in Belo Horizonte, Katherine Ordoñez, at the opening of the training in Brazil, which aimed to level the knowledge of security forces and partner institutions to strengthen actions to combat cybercrime and bank fraud in the country, with a focus on financial crimes and cryptocurrencies.
According to a statement SEJUSP gave Diálogo, the first part of the event introduced participants to the basic concepts of the world of cryptocurrencies. Participants then received more in-depth information on investigations. The training demonstrated how to request information and the steps to follow during a search and seizure operation to avoid losing crypto-assets. In addition, participants addressed trends in crimes involving cryptocurrencies, such as money laundering and fraud.
“It’s essential to train public security forces and other partner agencies and institutions, so that we can make integrated coordination more efficient, because all these bodies need to have a level playing field,” said SEJUSP’s Undersecretary for Public Security Integration Christian Vianna de Azevedo.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a change in the phenomenon of crime, which is adopting cryptocurrency investment and money laundering through virtual currencies. It has also invested heavily in cybercrime. Many criminal organizations that used to rob banks physically now operate in the field of electronic bank fraud, because it is more profitable and less risky,” he added.
Support in Montevideo
More than 30 judges, prosecutors, and police officers from Uruguay, Peru and, Argentina met in Montevideo, August 14-18, to take part in a cybercrime conference organized by the U.S. Department of Justice’s International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The conference in Montevideo allowed participants to learn online investigation techniques, how to collect digital evidence from a simulated crime scene, and present evidence in court. The rationale is that since hackers and online cybercriminals are constantly evolving their techniques, it is important for law enforcement agencies worldwide to also make efforts to keep up. The conference allowed participating countries to exchange best practices and techniques for investigating online crime.
The goal was to ensure that evidence obtained in investigations can be used effectively and persuasively in a court of law in order to achieve lasting convictions and sentences that deter criminal activity.
“Crimes against intellectual property endanger the health and safety of our citizens and threaten the very foundations of our economies,” said U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Heide B. Fulton, during the event. “Crimes like digital piracy can cost local economies billions in lost revenue, income for citizens and workers, and unrealized taxes for host countries.”