Cybercrime Fighters To Gather Next Week - InformationWeek
01:39 PM

Cybercrime Fighters To Gather Next Week

Law enforcement officials, including all 92 assistant U.S. attorneys, will meet to coordinate efforts against zero-day vulnerabilities and other online threats.

Although it seems as though cybercrime has been around forever, it's still a relatively new discipline that requires companies, law enforcement, and prosecutors to communicate frequently and adjust their tactics accordingly in order to catch the perps and put them away.

Hence the need for next week's third annual Government Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams Conference, where law enforcement officials at all levels will for the first time at this venue rub elbows with more than 200 attorneys and prosecutors, including all 92 assistant U.S. attorneys.

"Back when we started the conference, our focus was on information sharing at the technical level," Rob Pate, deputy director of outreach and awareness for the Homeland Security Department's National Cyber Security Division, told InformationWeek. "Now we're bringing in law enforcement and prosecutors to share our information."

Pate, who formerly served as director of strategic operations for the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team, or US-CERT, is also the founder of Government Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams.

Communication among private-sector businesses, government, and law enforcement is especially important as zero-day vulnerabilities -- those for which there is no patch -- proliferate and attackers adopt new tactics for breaking into systems. "We have to rapidly share information about what we're seeing because cybertime moves in seconds," Jerry Dixon, director of the National Cyber Security Division, told InformationWeek.

Homeland Security is seeing a wider range of cyberthreats every month, including sophisticated click frauds that attach malware to users' PCs when they visit Web sites, centralized botnets that steal computing resources and launch additional security attacks, and peer-to-peer botnets that evade detection by moving the botnets' command-and-control module from device to device. "You almost need a Ph.D. in software engineering to address P2P botnets," Dixon added.

The FBI reported earlier this month that, as a result of its Operation Bot Roast, an ongoing and coordinated initiative to disrupt and dismantle bot herders, law enforcement had identified about 1 million computers across the country that have been compromised. Homeland Security's hope is that legal experts and law enforcement officials will learn from each other with the ultimate goal of catching and punishing cybercriminals.

By pulling together the administrators, consultants, and law enforcement officials who detect and investigate security threats, Homeland Security wants to develop a forum for them to communicate face to face and exchange ideas and concerns. For last year's conference, Internet service providers were invited because "all of us have to use ISPs to get access to the information" required to track down the sources of cybercrime, Dixon said. The prosecutors invited to this year's conference will close the law enforcement cycle to ensure that these legal pros have the evidence they need to charge cybercriminals and make those charges stick.

This year's conference couldn't come soon enough. The U.S. Government Accountability Office earlier this week issued a report blasting Homeland Security for continuing to have deficiencies in its information security program that contribute to significant weaknesses in computer security controls that threaten the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of key departmental information and information systems. A congressional hearing Wednesday revealed that Homeland Security suffered 844 "cybersecurity incidents" during fiscal 2005 and 2006.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll