Today’s world is more interconnected than ever before. Yet, for all its advantages, increased connectivity brings increased risk of theft, fraud, and abuse. As Americans become more reliant on modern technology, we also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks such as corporate security breaches, spear phishing, and social media fraud. Complementary cybersecurity and law enforcement capabilities are critical to safeguarding and securing cyberspace. Law enforcement performs an essential role in achieving our nation’s cybersecurity objectives by investigating a wide range of cyber crimes, from theft and fraud to child exploitation, and apprehending and prosecuting those responsible. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) works with other federal agencies to conduct high-impact criminal investigations to disrupt and defeat cyber criminals, prioritize the recruitment and training of technical experts, develop standardized methods, and broadly share cyber response best practices and tools. Criminal investigators and network security experts with deep understanding of the technologies malicious actors are using and the specific vulnerabilities they are targeting work to effectively respond to and investigate cyber incidents.
DHS components such as the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have special divisions dedicated to combating cyber crime.
U.S. Secret Service
The U.S. Secret Service maintains Electronic Crimes Task Forces, which focus on identifying and locating international cyber criminals connected to cyber intrusions, bank fraud, data breaches, and other computer-related crimes. The Secret Service’s Cyber Intelligence Section has directly contributed to the arrest of transnational cyber criminals responsible for the theft of hundreds of millions of credit card numbers and the loss of approximately $600 million to financial and retail institutions. The Secret Service also runs the National Computer Forensic Institute, which provides law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges with cyber training and information to combat cyber crime.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cyber Crimes Center (C3) delivers computer-based technical services to support domestic and international investigations into cross-border crime. C3 is made up of the Cyber Crimes Unit, the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit, and the Computer Forensics Unit. This state-of-the-art center offers cyber crime support and training to federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies. C3 also operates a fully equipped computer forensics laboratory, which specializes in digital evidence recovery, and offers training in computer investigative and forensic skills.
Law Enforcement Cyber Incident Reporting
The Law Enforcement Cyber Incident Reporting resource provides information for state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) law enforcement on when, what and how to report a cyber incident to a federal entity. The document also provides information on federally sponsored training opportunities and other useful resources available to SLTT law enforcement.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, “Combating Cyber Crime” http://www.dhs.gov/ website. Accessed February 10, 2016. http://www.dhs.gov/cybersecurity-insurance
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