Intelligence, Crime and Cybersecurity

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Todor Tagarev


Information & Security: An International Journal, Volume 31, p.05-06 (2014)
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The explosive development of information technologies in the last two decades provided myriads of opportunities to speed up economic development, improve quality of life, and facilitate social interaction, willingly used by both business and governments. Technological opportunities however quickly find implementation in exploiting vulnerabilities and promoting individual and group interests that run contrary to legal norms and broader societal interests. Individual perpetrators, but also organized crime groups use advanced information and communications technologies to identify and track potential targets, organise themselves, communicate with partners, launder the proceeds from their criminal activities, and so on.
Authors in this issue of “Information & Security” look into the activity of organised crime groups, including ways in which they utilise advanced technologies, and then elaborate on technical, organisational and legal measures to counter their activities. First, Yavor Dinev presents an extensive study on the role of intelligence agencies in countering transnational organised crime.[1] Mr. Dinev reasons for closer cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement agencies nationally, as well as internationally. He provides in-depth study of the experience in such cooperation, the challenges and promising modalities in view of national and international legal norms and identified good practices. The second paper, contributed by a joint Italian-Canadian research team,[2] demonstrates how advanced algorithms can be applied to infer relationships—and indications on the evolution of such relationships—in an organised crime group based on data of the communications traffic. The algorithms are tested on two real-world examples and validate the authors’ working assumption, i.e. that based on traffic data it is possible to identify key individuals in the organised crime group. This can then be used to request, following the according legal procedure, application of advanced surveillance means, providing inter alia access to the content of the communications of these individuals, without unnecessarily infringing on the human rights of a large number of people.
The second group of papers deals with challenges in providing cybersecurity in Ukraine. Adhering to the particular philosophy of the journal—to serve as a bridge between the research community and the practitioners, specifically the policy makers—we present here views from the SBU – the National Security Service (counterintelligence) of Ukraine. In the first of these papers, Major General Volodymyr Bik, Head of the SBU Department for Counterintelligence Protection of the Informational Security of the State, presents the tasks of this newly established unit and how it fits within the overall security policy of Ukraine.[3] Next, Valentyn Petrov from the same department explores the development of SBU’s cybersecurity capacity as one of the pillars of the state security system.[4] And the final paper examines the challenges of providing information security in view of the rapid dissemination of the Wi-Fi technology.[5]
As a whole, this volume of “Information & Security” links the discussion on the role of intelligence and intelligence oversight in the previous volume 30 of the journal [6] with the forthcoming special issue, that will present national cases studies on organizing for cybersecurity. We believe that the readers will find the contributions included here of interest both for their research and in considering challenges and options in the practical implementation of novel concepts.
Todor Tagarev

[1] Yavor Dinev, “Legal Considerations of Intelligence Operations in Countering Transnational Organised Crime,” Information & Security: An International Journal 31 (2014): 7-47,
[2] Francesco Calderoni, David Skillicorn, and Quan Zheng, “Inductive Discovery of Criminal Group Structure Using Spectral Embedding,” Information & Security: An International Journal 31 (2014): 49-66,
[3] Volodymyr Bik, “Protecting the National Interests in the Domain of Information Security as a Functional Task of the SBU,” Information & Security: An International Journal 31 (2014): 69-72,
[4] Valentyn Petrov, “Establishing a National Cybersecurity System in the Context of National Security and Defence Sector Reform,” Information & Security: An International Journal 31 (2014): 73-77,
[5]  Іhor Chernukhin, “New Challenges to Information Security Caused by the Introduction of Wi-Fi Technologies,” Information & Security: An International Journal 31 (2014): 79-86,
[6] Phillip Fluri, ed., Good Governance of Intelligence and Security Services, special issue of Information & Security: An International Journal 30 (2013-2014), isij.v30.
The editor of this special issue Prof. Todor Tagarev is Head of the “IT for Security” department, Institute of Information and Communication Technologies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and serves also as Editor-in-Chief of “Information & Security: An International Journal.” E-mail:


Last updated: Thursday, 14 February 2019