14 April 2021. The International Police Association Russian Section (IPA RS) together with the Autonomous Non-Profit Organisation 'Smart Solutions Integration Agency' represented the Russian civil society with an expert speech at the 64th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

The virtual discussion ‘New Challenges and Threats for Cybersecurity, Illicit Drug Trafficking and Consumption in the Era of Covid-19’ was held with the participation of more than 100 Russian and international experts and practitioners in the field of public security, combatting cybercrime and drug trafficking on the Internet.

One of the key speakers was President of the IPA Russian Section, co-author of the new book by Russian experts ‘COVID-19: CRIME, CYBERSECURITY, SOCIETY, POLICE,’ Police Lieutenant General Yury Zhdanov. As part of his speech, he outlined the main cyber threats that were given an additional impetus due to the pandemic, shared statistics on cyber fraud and proposed ways out of the digital crisis.

Assessing the damage caused by cybercrime for Russian citizens, Yu. Zhdanov noted that from 2017 to 2020, the cumulative total of funds stolen by cybercriminals amounted to 199 billion roubles and the increase in cybercrime in 2020 compared to the indicators of 2019 was 112%.

‘According to experts, the overall detection rate of cybercrimes will decrease from 24% in 2020 to 22% not only due to the growth in their number, but also taking into account the development of skills and tools used by cybercriminals. It is obvious that the new challenges of cyberspace require a qualitatively different level of cyber literacy of the population and the possession by law enforcement officers of the most relevant methods of working with digital threats,’ the President of the IPA RS noted.

Presenting the ANPO ‘Smart Solutions Integration Agency’ activities, Director of the organisation Konstantin Kunts touched upon one of the most acute problems described in the book – the shift of drug trafficking into the digital space in the conditions of COVID-19, demonstrted interim results of a public opinion study on the topic of protection from dangerous online content and the role of NGOs in maintaining public information security.

According to Konstantin Kunts, in the conditions of global digitalisation, not only entertainment, communication and work go online but also dangerous phenomena, including drug trafficking. Therefore, public organisations in the field of drug use prevention are also forced to follow these trends by making preventive content digital.

‘A preliminary analysis of the survey data shows that more than 29 million Russians have access to dangerous content related to the propaganda and sale of drugs, recruitment of prohibited substances distributors every day! Projects on improving digital literacy and fighting drug threat on the Internet are more relevant today than ever. We are currently working on one of such projects,’ Kunz said.

The discussion was moderated by Vice-President of the IPA RS Natalia Kulikova.