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Interpol says it is creating a cybercrime operations desk with funding to boost the capacity of 49 African countries to fight cybercrime.

Made possible with funding from the United Kingdom (UK), the Africa desk will help shape a regional strategy to drive intelligence-led coordinated actions against cybercriminals and support joint operations.

The creation of Interpol’s New Cybercrime Desk comes at a time when cybercriminals are attacking the computer networks and systems of individuals, businesses and global organisations. This is due to the vulnerability of cyber defences caused by the shift of focus to the pandemic crisis.

Cybercrime is one of the most prolific forms of international crime, with damages set to cost the global economy $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said his government was working with like-minded partners, to make sure that the international order that governs cyber activity was fit for purpose.

“Our aim should be to create a cyberspace that is free, open, peaceful and secure, which benefits all countries and all people,” he said, speaking at the CYBERUK conference in London. “We want to see international law respected in cyberspace, just like anywhere else. And we need to show how the rules apply to these changes in technology, the changes in threats, and the systemic attempts to render the internet a lawless space.”