Internet Cyber Crime
The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber attacks by criminals, overseas adversaries, and terrorists. The threat is incredibly serious—and growing. Cyber intrusions are becoming more commonplace, more dangerous, and more sophisticated. Our nation’s critical infrastructure, including both private and public sector networks, are targeted by adversaries. American companies are targeted for trade secrets and other sensitive corporate data, and universities for their cutting-edge research and development. Citizens are targeted by fraudsters and identity thieves, and children are targeted by online predators. Just as the FBI transformed itself to better address the terrorist threat after the 9/11 attacks, it is undertaking a similar transformation to address the pervasive and evolving cyber threat. This means enhancing the Cyber Division’s investigative capacity to sharpen its focus on intrusions into government and private computer networks.
Computer and Network Intrusions
The collective impact is staggering. Billions of dollars are lost every year repairing systems hit by such attacks. Some take down vital systems, disrupting and sometimes disabling the work of hospitals, banks, and 9-1-1 services around the country.
Who is behind such attacks? It runs the gamut—from computer geeks looking for bragging rights…to businesses trying to gain an upper hand in the marketplace by hacking competitor websites, from rings of criminals wanting to steal your personal information and sell it on black markets…to spies and terrorists looking to rob our nation of vital information or launch cyber strikes.
Today, these computer intrusion cases—counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal—are the paramount priorities of our cyber program because of their potential relationship to national security.
Combating the threat. In recent years, we’ve built a whole new set of technological and investigative capabilities and partnerships—so we’re as comfortable chasing outlaws in cyberspace as we are down back alleys and across continents. That includes:
- A Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters “to address cyber crime in a coordinated and cohesive manner”;
- Specially trained cyber squads at FBI headquarters and in each of our 56 field offices, staffed with “agents and analysts who protect against investigate computer intrusions, theft of intellectual property and personal information, child pornography and exploitation, and online fraud”;
- New Cyber Action Teams that “travel around the world on a moment’s notice to assist in computer intrusion cases” and that “gather vital intelligence that helps us identify the cyber crimes that are most dangerous to our national security and to our economy;”
- Our 93 Computer Crimes Task Forces nationwide that “combine state-of-the-art technology and the resources of our federal, state, and local counterparts”;
- A growing partnership with other federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and others—which share similar concerns and resolve in combating cyber crime.
Our daily life, economic vitality, and national security depend on a stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace.
Cyberspace and its underlying infrastructure are vulnerable to a wide range of risk stemming from both physical and cyber threats and hazards. Sophisticated cyber actors and nation-states exploit vulnerabilities to steal information and money and are developing capabilities to disrupt, destroy, or threaten the delivery of essential services.
Cyberspace and its underlying infrastructure are vulnerable to a wide range of risk stemming from both physical and cyber threats and hazards. Sophisticated cyber actors and nation-states exploit vulnerabilities to steal information and money and are developing capabilities to disrupt, destroy, or threaten the delivery of essential services. A range of traditional crimes are now being perpetrated through cyberspace. This includes the production and distribution of child pornography and child exploitation conspiracies, banking and financial fraud, intellectual property violations, and other crimes, all of which have substantial human and economic consequences.
Cyberspace is particularly difficult to secure due to a number of factors: the ability of malicious actors to operate from anywhere in the world, the linkages between cyberspace and physical systems, and the difficulty of reducing vulnerabilities and consequences in complex cyber networks. Of growing concern is the cyber threat to critical infrastructure, which is increasingly subject to sophisticated cyber intrusions that pose new risks. As information technology becomes increasingly integrated with physical infrastructure operations, there is increased risk for wide scale or high-consequence events that could cause harm or disrupt services upon which our economy and the daily lives of millions of Americans depend. In light of the risk and potential consequences of cyber events, strengthening the security and resilience of cyberspace has become an important homeland security mission.
Combating Internet Cyber Crime
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.
Every time we connect to the Internet, we make decisions that affect our cybersecurity.
The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign is a national public awareness campaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. We each have to do our part to keep the Internet safe. When we all take simple steps to be safer online, it makes using the Internet a more secure experience for everyone.
Cyber Tips and Resources
- Join the Campaign Non-profit organizations, government agencies, colleges and universities, and individuals can join the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign. Join today.
- Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit The Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit provides resources for all segments of the community.
- Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign Blog The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign Blog contains the latest cybersecurity news and tips to help you and your family stay safe online.
- Stop.Think.Connect. Videos Learn more about what can affect your online security and how you can protect yourself.
- Stop.Think.Connect. Promotional Materials In addition to the audience-specific resources, download the following materials to display at your home, office, or community center or hand out at a cybersecurity awareness event.
- About Stop.Think.Connect. The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign is a national public awareness effort that increases the understanding of cyber threats and empowers the American public to be safer and more secure online.
DHS is committed to strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity workforce through standardizing roles and helping to ensure we have well-trained cybersecurity workers today as well as a strong pipeline of future cybersecurity leaders of tomorrow.
The demand for an experienced and qualified workforce to protect our Nation’s networks and information systems has never been higher.
Cybersecurity and Privacy
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) empowers its programs to succeed by integrating privacy protections from the outset. The DHS Privacy Office is the first statutorily mandated privacy office in the Federal Government and serves a unique role as both an advisor and oversight body for the department.
DHS views privacy as more than just compliance with privacy laws. Privacy at DHS is also about public trust and confidence. It’s about how the government acts responsibly and transparently in the way it collects, maintains, and uses personally identifiable information.
Source: DHS Gov