By Michael Arnone
Feb. 16, 2006
SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- In the movie "High Noon," Gary Cooper must
outshoot a gang of villains without the help of the townspeople he
must save. Thankfully, the FBI doesn't have the same problem with
fighting cybercriminals, the bureau's director said yesterday.
"We are not facing these outlaws on our own," said Robert Mueller, FBI
director, at the RSA Conference 2006 here. "No person, no agency, no
company, indeed no country can prevent crime on its own."
The FBI already has many partnerships with the private sector, notably
its InfraGuard program, Mueller said. The bureau is looking for the
private sector to form stronger partnerships with law enforcement and
better educate the public about cybersecurity risk mitigation, he
Success in fighting digital outlaws depends on strong, open
collaborations among federal, state and local law enforcement, the
private sector and academia, Mueller said.
Cyberspace is the like the Wild West, an "open, largely unprotected
frontier with seemingly limitless opportunity," Mueller said. At the
same time, "IT has become a force multiplier for criminals," he said.
Another challenge is that the clear division of responsibility and
jurisdiction among federal, state and local law enforcement is
"rendered obsolete by the fluid and far-reaching nature of
cyberthreats," Mueller said.
The FBI understands that companies often don't report cyberattacks
because they want to protect their privacy and competitive advantage
and avoid bad press, Mueller said. But "maintaining a code of silence
will not benefit you or your company in the long run," he said.
The FBI won't release proprietary or confidential information when
companies reveal they have been attacked, Mueller said. "We don't want
you to feel victimized a second time by our investigations," he said.
The FBI is refining and expanding its investigation and prosecution of
cybercrimes. It is also identifying more of the pre-eminent
cybercriminals and their ways of operating, Mueller said.
Meanwhile, companies must make every effort to secure their own
systems as much as possible, Mueller said.
The FBI created a cybersecurity division at its headquarters in 2002
to address cyberthreats in a coordinated and cohesive manner, Mueller
said. The bureau has established cybercrime squads at its headquarters
and all 56 field offices.
The agency has 93 computer crime task forces nationwide, and special
teams that can go anywhere in the country on short notice, Mueller
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