As the recent 'Malware Monday' became the latest public example of the cyber world of viruses, malware, bank fraud, espionage, and internet scams, we are reminded of how important it is for law enforcement to constantly evolve and learn new skills to combat these new 21st Century threats. Virtually all federal, state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies have cyber crime units comprised of agents, officers, analysts, and often international and private sector partners. This is the direct result of cyber threats, attacks and crimes doubling in the last decade - and consistently becoming more sophisticated and dangerous.
In addition to the national security secrets that are regularly targeted by foreign and domestic individuals - our children are targeted by sexual predators and traffickers; our citizens are targets for theft, fraud and exploitation; and our private and public companies are targeted for insider information, research and development secrets. State sponsored and individual hackers - as well as criminal enterprises - are constantly probing networks and software to identify and exploit any and all vulnerabilities.
Investigating these cyber criminals can be one of the most complex tasks facing law enforcement professionals today. And although it's necessary to have a thorough understanding of how technology works, criminal investigators need not be cyber sleuths or computer forensic experts to get started in working cybercrimes. Internet investigation training programs, as offered by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, focus on investigations and operations of internet use as well as the communities that are being exploited for criminal activity. These programs can offer officers with good investigative skills an understanding of how the internet is used to conduct or facilitate crime, the different aspects of internet investigations, how to conduct live on-line investigations, what is considered evidence in the digital world, how to preserve or contaminate that evidence, etc.
Technological advancements and expansions will continue to provide opportunities for malicious attackers to harm our national security and economy. Law enforcement must continue to adapt, learn new skills and stay one step ahead of these new threats. Moreover, just like law enforcement has evolved to embrace and utilize such technological advances as fingerprinting, wiretapping, DNA and other laboratory and/or forensic advancements over the years, there is also an opportunity for law enforcement to utilize this new cyber frontier to wage battle against criminals and terrorists of all kinds. The apprehension of cyber criminals will not only protect the stakeholders across the spectrum of critical infrastructure, it will also have a significant economic and community impact.
FEDS provides professional liability insurance for the entire federal law enforcement community. For information on your specific exposures, how professional liability insurance protects, or how the FEDS program differs from other insurance programs, visit us on the web at fedsprotection.com and choose the position or agency that best describes your job and professional responsibilities.