By James R. Lint
Faculty Member, School of Business American Military University
Contributor, In Homeland Security
Cybercrime is a fear that many people have on the Internet. This is the focus for the third week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).
Cybercrime Is a Problem for Many People Online
News source CNBC reports that cybercrime victims lose an average of $358 and spend 21 hours fixing the problem. A new study by Michigan’s Ponemon Institute shows average annual losses to companies worldwide now exceed $7.7 million, with companies in the study losing up to $65 million. Forbes says that cybercrime costs may reach $2 trillion by 2019.
The good news is that unlike crimes that have one government agency (such as the FBI) conducting the investigation, there are multiple federal agencies that conduct investigations in cybercrime cases. Each organization has its own jurisdiction.
So, who are the federal teams fighting cybercrime?
U.S. Secret Service (USSS)
According to the DHS website, “The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) maintains the 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 has many Computer Crimes Task Force organizations led by their Field Offices, which are strategically placed across the U.S. These organizations often share information with local businesses and corporations that could be targets of cyber criminals.
The Secret Service has many vacancies for job hunters, but their selection process is very rigorous. Many people think that the Secret Service only protects the President of the United States, but they do much more work to protect U.S. citizens.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
ICE is a large organization with Homeland Security Investigations as a sub-organization managing the Cyber Crimes Center (C3). The Cyber Crimes Center “delivers computer-based technical services to support domestic and international investigations into cross-border crime. C3 comprises the Cyber Crimes Unit, the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit and the Computer Forensics Unit. C3 also operates a fully equipped computer forensics laboratory, which specializes in digital evidence recovery, and offers training in computer investigative and forensic skills.”
ICE has an overseas mission with offices in many embassies. They are a good organization for conducting investigations into international cybercrime.
Their mission is broad — from the protection of children to cybercrime to digital theft of intellectual property. Their skills are diversified between language skills and computer prowess.
ICE’s computer forensics unit is known worldwide for their expertise. They assist other countries in difficult cases and enter into partnerships with a multitude of organizations to include the U.S. Special Operations Command.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has many ways to report cybercrimes on its website. The US-CERT Incident Reporting System is easy to use and easily accessible on the Web. They take reports from individuals, other federal government organizations and foreign governments. Their jurisdiction is a large one, which improves their ability to analyze and solve cybercrimes.
Report Cybercrimes Promptly
Federal law enforcement cannot read minds; you must report cybercrime when you see it. The more reports they receive, the better they can analyze a situation. Their involvement can lead to criminal apprehensions and case closures.
About the Author
James R. Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. He is an adjunct professor at AMU. Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded their 43rd scholarship for national security students and professionals. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence within the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, contractor and civil service.
James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. In 2016 he was accepted as a member of the Military Writers Guild. He has served in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and at the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office. James had an active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and also served 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba in addition to numerous CONUS locations. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” and a new book in 2016 “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea.”
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