The war against cybercrime is continuously escalating. Our nation's safety depends on the vigilence and competence of Federal agencies and personnel to combat constant threats.
The growing threats created by digital criminals and terrorists have worked to produce many different kinds of new challenges for federal agencies and other law enforcement agencies which are charged with protecting individuals, private businesses, and governments from these digital threats. The political leaders and leaders of law enforcement agencies recognize the need to upgrade, and emphasize, new priorities, strategies, and innovations to counter the continued and growing threats of computer crime.
The federal government agencies have a significant role in combating computer crimes because they spearhead law enforcement. They possess expertise and high technology, political power and financial resources to combat crime at the national level. These agencies have increasingly recognized the need to prioritize computer crime and have increased their efforts to prevent digital crime and to apprehend computer criminals. Efforts to detect computer crimes before they happen, including the creation of special sections within these organizations, is a major role for federal agencies. Some of these agencies include the following:
Secret Service – This agency has created the Financial Crime Division to fight computer crime. The main responsibilities of this division include the enforcement of three high profile computer-related crimes. (1) The division is charged to identify and investigate financial institutional fraud such as a banks, savings and loans. (2) The jurisdiction in cases involving access devised fraud which are under Title 18 (credit cards, personal identification numbers, and pass words). (3) Investigation of computer crime involving federal interests.
Department of Justice (DOJ) – This head of the Department of Justice is the Attorney General who represents the United States in legal matters. He advises the President of the United States. His department makes every effort to respond to the legal threat posed by cyber criminals. The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the DOJ persecutes crimes related to intellectual property crimes, electronic privacy laws, computer hacker investigations, and other cases involving computers.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigates domestic criminal acts that involve computers such as internet fraud, hacking, transmission of obscene material crossing state lines. It collaborates with the DOJ to form the National Infrastructure Protection Center. Together they protect critical federal computer systems against terrorist activities.
National Security Agency (NSA) - The National Security Agency is primarily responsible for designing and maintaining computerized coding system to protect the integrity of the United States’ information system. It is also responsible for detect and exploit witnesses in adversarial countries’ secret computerized coding systems. The NSA has the most highly trained group of professionals including researchers, computer scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
Federal Trade Commission (DTC) – This federal agency is primarily involved in the enforcement of traditional criminal activities which often occur online which include false marketing crimes, credit repair scams, and financial pyramid schemes.
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection – Besides protecting the borders, this agency is responsible for seizing illegally distributed child pornography. This crime has increasingly involved the use of the internet. This agency has recently expanded its enforcement of computer related crimes with the creation of the Customs Cyber Smuggling Center. They also handle international money laundering, illegal arms trafficking and intellectual property rights violations.
The number of local, state, county and regional task forces continue to increase largely because these agencies have experienced more computer-related criminal activities within their jurisdictions. The most pressing computer crimes enforced by these agencies appear to be those related to “harmful computer content”, especially child pornography and computer-related fraud. The law enforcement community has begun to recognize the importance of building partnerships across public and private domains as well as between public agencies. Examples of such partnerships include the FBI’s “Operation Cyber Loss”, the New York Electron Crimes Task Force, and the Department of Justice‘s “Cyber Citizen Partnership”.
The federal government has increasingly recognized the need for collaboration among federal agencies, private agencies, local and state agencies to contain cyber computer threats and to defeat them because these digital and computer crimes have no boundaries. Such crimes can inflict massive damage and destroy all vital channels of our national institutions including defense, health, security, and finance.