[ISN] U.S. Hopes To Unplug Cybercrime In N.Va.

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Jan 15 2002 - 22:08:06 PST

  • Next message: InfoSec News: "[ISN] Wireless LANs: Trouble in the Air"

    By Brooke A. Masters,
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, January 15, 2002; 7:07 AM
    The FBI and U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria are launching efforts
    to fight cybercrime, hoping to head off potential terrorism and
    prosecute criminal attacks on Northern Virginia's Internet economy.
    Six prosecutors will work full time on computer crime, including
    software piracy, economic espionage, online child pornography and
    terrorist efforts to disrupt the electronic systems of banks,
    utilities and other institutions, U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty
    announced yesterday.
    Four of the positions are new, part of a national effort to add 50 to
    60 federal cybercrime prosecutors to 10 key offices across the
    At the same time, Van Harp, assistant director in charge of the FBI's
    Washington field office, announced that he has created a cybercrime
    task force to bring together prosecutors, state, local and federal law
    enforcement officers, the Defense Department and industry.
    Cybercrime has been a growing problem across the country, particularly
    in high-tech centers such as Northern Virginia. Various government
    agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI and the
    Securities and Exchange Commission, have jumped on the issue, and the
    three U.S. attorney's offices in the region have had prosecutors
    working on the problem.
    Federal officials in Maryland and the District said they devote a few
    prosecutors to cybercrime.
    But the coordinated efforts announced yesterday represent a growing
    maturity in the federal fight against online crime and a growing
    awareness that the nation's technology infrastructure could be
    vulnerable to a disabling attack.
    "It's not just a criminal problem," Harp said. "We see it as a problem
    in terrorism, and it threatens the critical infrastructure of this
    country." He said federal agencies, utilities and financial
    institutions are being targeted  or "pinged"  daily by would-be
    hackers. "If they are successful, it could cause some damage."
    McNulty said his office wants to make sure that businesses feel
    comfortable coming forward and admitting that they have been attacked,
    a problem that has hampered law enforcement efforts in the past.
    The new groups may help elevate the importance of cybercrime at a time
    when companies sometimes have had trouble getting law enforcement to
    pay attention, said Peter Tippet, founder of TruSecure Corp., a
    computer security company. "It's been really hard since [the Sept. 11
    terrorist attacks]," he said. "The law enforcement machinery is
    clogged up with 9-11 stuff . . . and the threshold is much higher than
    it was in early September."
    Both the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office have worked in this area
    before. The Washington field office, which covers the District and
    Northern Virginia, has the National Infrastructure Protection Center
    to track hackers. The new task force will bring together more than 25
    agents from that squad and a second that also has been focused on
    high-tech crime, Harp said.
    The new head of the prosecution unit, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack
    Hanly, handled the 1999 case of Eric Burns, a teenage hacker convicted
    of breaking into dozens of Web sites across the country in a bizarre
    effort to impress a high school classmate.
    Burns, who used the screen name "Zyklon," scrawled messages such as
    "Crystal I love you" across seemingly secure sites, including some
    used by the U.S. Information Agency and then-Vice President Al Gore.
    This month, authorities say, the FBI and U.S. attorney's office worked
    with their counterparts in Pittsburgh to rescue a 13-year-old girl who
    disappeared from her Pennsylvania home and was found several days
    later chained to a bed in the Herndon home of a man she met on the
    ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org
    To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY
    of the mail.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Wed Jan 16 2002 - 02:40:56 PST