Page Two

By Dennis Fisher  |  Posted 2004-05-31 Print this article Print

The lack of resources can also affect cyber-crime victims, Rasch said. "The investigators end up prioritizing and want the victims to do most of the legwork," he said. "Theres a big population of people caught in the middle with no recourse."

"Clearly, one of the biggest frustrations is that there arent nearly enough trained investigators," Rasch added. "So the little stuff falls by the wayside. They look for people targeting banks, critical infrastructure, government facilities, high-impact sites."

For the FBIs part, it has been trying to emulate the Secret Service model for some time, albeit with limited success. Efforts to date to create a computer crimes task force in Washington within the FBI have been fruitless. Part of the problem is a lack of clear understanding of protocol and procedure, with respect to investigations, which has led to head butting between the two agencies over jurisdictional issues. The FBI did not return repeated phone calls for comment on this story.

People who have been involved in the governments anti-cyber-crime initiatives said there needs to be a major commitment from the highest levels of the federal government for things to improve.

"The Secret Service has its task forces, and I think thats the right approach," said Richard Clarke, former chairman of the Presidents Critical Infrastructure Protection Board and now chairman of Good Harbor Consulting LLC, based in Herndon, Va. "But theyre vastly underfunded. They need a forensics lab and training if theyre going to be really effective.

"Theyre not getting the support from above and the money that they need. They dont have nearly enough manpower," Clarke said.

The FDLEs Breeden knows the feeling. With his unit taking on at least one new case every day, he ends up declining to investigate a large number of the potential cyber-crimes that come his way.

"We get a lot of complaints, but we dont have the manpower to handle them. We have a $10,000 [loss] threshold to even look at it," said Breeden. "Most of the complaints are losses that are much smaller than that. We have to have an offender with multiple offenses most of the time. That leaves a lot of cases that we just cant get to, and theyre no less important than the ones we take." Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center at for the latest security news, reviews and analysis.

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