http://www.washtech.com/news/regulation/14657-1.html 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 country. 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 Internet. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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