Experiences

Preventing cybercriminals to achieve success with their crime efforts

Jarmo van Lenthe studied Technical Computer Science at the University of Twente. In his last year he chose to do his minor in Law at the faculty of Business, Management and Social Sciences. After completing his minor, he started his final year project at the National police in Driebergen. His assignment was dealing with barrier models to map criminal processes. Besides that, you need to look at how you can stop them with as less effort possible but with the most success. ‘I was working on infringement of intellectual property. I did a case file study and found out what criminals undertake, which goals they have, and how we could put it in a model to find ways to prevent the criminals to accomplish their goals,’ Jarmo explains. ‘The criminals' activities looks like a series of actions in the model. It then helps us to decide where to put a stop to this series so the criminals do not reach their intended goal. We want to put in as little effort as possible, while simultaneously achieving the most success,’ Jarmo says.

From Bachelor's to Master's 

Jarmo enjoyed this project a lot. He was an expert in technical details, knowledgeable in social communication and he had a good background in Dutch law because of his minor. The project made him decide to choose the Master’s in Computer Science and specialize in Cyber Security. He was also interested in Cryptology: how does something work and how is it possible. Jarmo: ‘It is cool to work on preventing criminals from reaching their goals. Nowadays I work in the High Tech Crime Team and it is still really cool. I am glad I chose the right specialization for me back then.’

Improving malware detection

During his Master’s he worked on a project to improve malware detection. Jarmo: ‘To find out what techniques the criminals use we introduced honeypots. Hackers attacked the honeypot and because of that we received numerous data. Through this data we could observe what the criminals were undertaking and detect where it might be possible to intervene.’ In this project he worked together with Jair Santanna, who was a first year PhD student back then. On 17 November 2017 Jair will defend his PhD thesis. The project was performed within the DACS research group headed by Prof.dr.ir. Aiko Pras. Jarmo graduated from his Master's in Computer Science in 2014.

High Tech Crime team

‘In February 2014 I started working at the High Tech Crime team at the National police. It is fascinating to work in this team because you are always working on new techniques. Cyber criminals keep innovating, so you have to innovate as well. It is especially exciting during house searches of suspects. You never know what you will find on the servers you are bringing back to the office,’ Jarmo says.

The growing importance of cyber security

The workload is very high because cyber criminal threats are still growing. Therefore regional police forces are setting up specialized departments of cybercrime. This way national and regional police departments can share responsibility of different crimes. Jarmo’s team is specialized in cases with a high international character, organized crimes of considerably large group of criminals and innovative techniques used to activate crimes. Jarmo: ‘Imagine for example the online drugs market, banking malware, national cyber attacks, or the impact of ransomware.’

Jarmo: ‘If students have an interest in cybersecurity I really recommend the Cyber Security specialization. And perhaps afterwards a future in our Team High Tech Crime.’

Find out more about the Cyber Security specialization.

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