Prosecutors and judges are having a hard time understanding computer crime, but a training course under way in 14 countries is aiming to improve how legal systems deal with cybercrime.
The European Certificate on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence (ECCE) course was developed over the last year and aims to give basic technical training, said Fredesvinda Insa, the ECCE's project manager who also works for the Spanish consultancy Cybex.
A three-year study conducted from 2004 to 2007 found that legal officials in 16 European countries had a lack of knowledge in how to deal with electronic evidence and other issues, Insa said.
"Judges and prosecutors are not scared but cautious when they use electronic evidence because they do not understand what they have," said Insa, who gave a presentation on Wednesday at the Council of Europe's International Conference on Cybercrime in Strasbourg, France. "In order to admit evidence, they have to have very basic knowledge of these themes."
Before the ECCE, there was no single training program for judges and prosecutors in handling e-crime and e-evidence. Existing programs did not adhere to a standard or have common criteria, she said.
The ECCE course runs for eight hours a day for four days. Training topics include computer forensics, different cybercrime offenses, collection and analysis of electronic evidence and European requirements for admission of e-evidence.
Eleven European countries and three South American countries have run or are planning training courses: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Venezuela.
The courses are free and are conducted in English. Cybex has published a schedule of upcoming courses. The ECCE project is funded by the European Commission and Cybex.
Insa said officials would like to eventually develop more advanced courses, as well as modify the courses given the rapid pace at which cybercriminals change their tactics.
"We win the war by winning little battles," Insa said.