Many of the crimes affecting individuals—including credit card fraud, sexual harassment, and identity theft—are increasingly conducted, or at least, facilitated through the Internet. As technology advances, new avenues open up for cyber crimes and our responsibilities online must evolve to keep up. During National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its partners from the public and private sector are highlighting the importance of protecting against cyber crime.
As Americans become more reliant on modern technology, we also become more vulnerable to cyber crimes such as:
- Identity Theft: The illegal use of someone else’s personal information in order to obtain money or credit.
- Fraud: The intentional distortion of truth in order to benefit with something of value.
- Phishing: A scam by which an email user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information that the scammer can use illicitly or fraudulently.
- Social Media Fraud: Cyber criminals increasingly use social media to engage in identity theft and entice individuals to download malicious code or reveal passwords.
- Corporate Security Breaches: The majority of corporate security breaches occur when hackers exploit employees through social engineering and scams.
- Spear Phishing: Hackers target employees through emails that appear to be from colleagues within their own organizations, allowing cyber criminals to steal personal information.
To address the evolving threats and increased risks of cybercrimes, DHS works directly with public and private partners to enhance cybersecurity. Through the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), and the National Governors Assocation (NGA) Cyber and Electronic Crime Resource Center, DHS works to promote cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy among all Internet users.
DHS also collaborates with the financial and other critical infrastructure sectors to improve network security. DHS components, such as the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have special divisions dedicated to fighting cybercrime:
The Secret Service maintains Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs), which focus on identifying and locating cyber criminals connected to cyber intrusions, bank fraud, data breaches, and other computer-related crimes. The Secret Service’s Cyber Intelligence Section has directly contributed to the arrest of transnational cyber criminals responsible for the theft of hundreds of millions of credit card numbers and the loss of approximately $600 million from financial and retail institutions. The Secret Service also runs the National Computer Forensic Institute, which provides law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges with cyber training and information to combat cybercrime.
ICE’s Cyber Crimes Center (C3) works to prevent cybercrime and solve cyber incidents. From the C3 Cyber Crime Section, ICE identifies sources for fraudulent identity and immigration documents on the Internet. C3's Child Exploitation Section investigates large-scale producers and distributors of child pornography, as well as individuals who travel abroad for the purpose of engaging in sex with minors.
For more information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month or the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign, please click www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month.