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America’s Law Enforcement Officers: Keeping Us Safe Online

Posted by US Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan

What would you do if you receive a suspicious email from a friend that only included a link? Would you click on it?  The email may be an attempt by an individual or group to solicit personal information or cause harm to our computers.  This type of attack is referred to as “phishing.” Cybercriminals may send an email that appears to be from a friend or valid organization.  The email may entice us to click a link that may look legitimate but is actually an attempt to collect our personal information or expose us to a website with malicious code.

These types of attacks are one example of the many complex cyber threats we face every time we go online regardless of whether we are at home, at work, or on the go.   The spectrum of crime in today’s cyber landscape is limitless: threats, some more serious and sophisticated than others, can have wide-ranging effects on the individual, community, organizational, and national level.  

Law enforcement plays an instrumental role in advancing the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity mission to proactively fight Internet-related crime and to empower citizens with resources and tools needed to protect against growing cyber threats. To combat cyber crime, DHS leverages the skills and resources of the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Coast Guard, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection – working in cooperation with the Department of Justice, especially the Federal Bureau of Investigation – to investigate and prosecute cyber criminals. In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. Secret Service arrested over 1,239 suspects for cyber crime in investigations that prevented over $1.6 billion in fraud loss.

The need for collective action on cybersecurity has never been greater. In recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness Month this October, we pay special attention to “Achieving Cybersecurity Together.” DHS encourages law enforcement officials to help spread cybersecurity awareness to communities across the country by:

  • Joining the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign through the National Network or Cyber Awareness Coalition. Find out more at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.
  • Leading or hosting a cybersecurity educational session or activity at a local school, library, or community center.
  • Downloading and distributing Stop.Think.Connect. cybersecurity materials, including the Toolkit with resources for all ages and organizations.
  • Blogging, tweeting, or posting about safe online behavior.

For more information about staying safe online and getting involved, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

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