Federal Agencies And Digital Crime
Amy E. Moody
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Federal Agencies And Digital Crime
There are a number of law enforcement agencies that focus on various types of cyber crime. Each of these agencies has specific areas of expertise or focus. Some of the areas do overlap between agencies, but the agencies do not always communicate effectively. So, their independence from each other does pose some problems when combating digital crime.
The FBI has four major focuses relating to digital crime; to capture criminals behind serious computer intrusions and the spread of malicious code, to stop online sexual predators that produce or share child pornography and meet and exploit children online, to stop operations targeting U.S. intellectual property, and to dismantle national and transnational organized crime groups engaging in Internet fraud. (Taylor and Fritsch, 2011) They have 93 taskforces that provide partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. They also investigate internationally to protect the United States against terroristic and foreign intelligence attacks.
The NSA is the agency responsible for monitoring and protecting the federal government computers and networks against digital crime attacks. Most of the work that the NSA does is very secretive, therefore we do not hear about a lot of their success. The do provide information security training to many different government and private agencies, they also provide information security through security tools, security products, threat warnings, analysis of attacks and security bulletins. (Taylor and Fritsch, 2011)
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The above are two examples of federal agencies and how different their focus is. The Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement both play a pivotal role in international cyber crime. The Department of Homeland Security is considered the agency that ties all of the other federal agencies together. Federal law enforcement agencies have a history of failing to coordinate and cooperate with each other in regards to various types of crime, not just limited to cyber crime. Perhaps the biggest failure of coordination between federal agencies was the attacks of September 11, 2001. Each of the federal agencies had different pieces of intelligence, when pieced together would have given them a telltale sign of the attacks. Had these agencies actually communicated with each other, maybe the attacks would have never happened.
The role of state and local law enforcement is small in comparison to the federal agencies, but the number of computer crimes is steadily increasing. Some federal investigations involve state and local law enforcement agencies, but they are not always made aware of federal presence in their jurisdictions. The state and local agencies are trying to combat digital crime, but they are lacking the training, expertise and technology to be effective.
I think that the U.S. could better align their efforts by first ensuring that all law enforcement agencies, both federal and state receive the same type of training relating to countering digital crime and terrorism. Also I believe that communication between the agencies needs to be a lot better. If the agencies weren’t so concerned with jurisdictional limitations or levels of security, there would not be as much confusion. The agencies that work together tend to be more effective at combating crime. FEDERAL AGENCIES AND DIGITAL CRIME 4
Taylor, R. W. et al. (2011). Digital Crime and Digital Terrorism, 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Prentice Hall Publishing Kenyon, H. FBI Goes International To Fight Cyber Criminals On Their Home Turf. Accessed February 24, 2011 at