Seeking to bolster the battle against Internet-based crime, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has unveiled the Law Enforcement Cyber Center, an online portal that offers resources, tips and strategies for investigators and prosecutors.
The center’s features include cyber threat bulletins, links to federal agencies with specific programs targeting online crime and assistance for filing incident reports. The resources are focused on cyber crime investigation, digital forensics and information systems security.
Cyber crime, which is defined as illegal activity committed via computer or targeted at a computer or computer networks, has been on the rise in recent years. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received an average of 22,000 reports a month in 2014 relating to Internet-based crime and fraud.
The IC3’s annual report, which was published in May 2015, singled out two types of crime on the rise. One involves the use of social media by criminals to find personal details and develop relationships with victims in order to scam them out of their money. The other involves virtual currency, which attracts criminals who look for vulnerabilities to exploit in developing currency systems.
Other types of crimes included what the center categorized as business email compromise schemes, impersonation emails, intimidation or extortion scams, and auto and real estate fraud.
A string of major hacks against companies such as Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase and Sony Pictures – as well as intrusions targeting the U.S. Postal Service and the Internal Revenue Service – have further focused attention on cybersecurity.
“The unparalleled changes and growth in technology have shifted how we operate,” IACP President Richard Beary wrote on the Cyber Center website.
“Justice and public safety agencies and our communities are more vulnerable to attacks by criminals, hacktivists, and state and non-state actors than ever before,” Beary said.
The Law Enforcement Cyber Center aims to provide law enforcement officers, chiefs and other investigators with specific tools to fight new trends in Internet crime. The IACP collaborated with the RAND Corporation and the Police Executive Research Forum to launch the site, with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.
The IACP noted that large law enforcement agencies are often equipped to handle significant volumes of sophisticated cyber crimes, while smaller police agencies face more challenges. The new center seeks to help close that gap.
The federal government also is directing more resources to cybersecurity efforts. In recent months, the FBI began a search for cyber agents and The White House announced the formation of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, which will combine the work of the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.