FBI chief lauds city's cyber-crime fight

FBI chief lauds city's cyber-crime fight
FBI chief lauds city's cyber-crime fight 

By Jill King Greenwood
November 8, 2007

Pittsburgh has a unique crime-fighter, FBI Director Robert Mueller said 

In a large building in South Oakland, FBI agents work alongside forensic 
computer analysts, postal inspectors and the Department of Homeland 
Security. They investigate and try to prevent cyber-terrorism before 
Internet threats can affect the economy or infrastructure.

Mueller said the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance on 
Second Avenue involves partnerships with numerous organizations, the 
private sector and academia including Carnegie Mellon University and 
Penn State University. He was in Pittsburgh to tour Carnegie Mellon and 
talk about the threat of cyber-terrorism, which he said can range from a 
hacker preventing baseball fans from buying tickets online to al-Qaida 
using the Internet to communicate with new members.

"Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon in particular, have been on the cutting 
edge of technology and computer science capabilities for years," Mueller 
said. "Pittsburgh has developed a reputation for having the experts that 
can work alongside law enforcement to investigate these crimes and 
identify the attackers. Pittsburgh is the envy of those around the 

The alliance houses nearly 70 computer forensics investigators, mostly 
students and researchers, said its CEO, Ronald E. Plesco Jr. 
Investigators receive data and cooperation from more than 600 companies, 
as well as colleges and universities and law enforcement agencies 
worldwide, to investigate online bank fraud, extortion attempts and 
other cyber crimes, Plesco said.

Current investigations include fraudulent Web sites seeking donations 
for victims of the wildfires in California and the Virginia Tech 
shooting massacre.

Next month, six additional postal inspectors will be added to the team, 
said Aaron E. Kornblum, senior attorney for alliance partner Microsoft. 
Countries including England, Australia and Canada are looking to model 
their cyber-terrorism investigations after Pittsburgh, Kornblum said.

Mueller said Internet crimes will continue to rise and pose threats 
worldwide, but America is more secure than before the Sept. 11 terrorist 

During a cyber crime conference in State College on Tuesday, Mueller 
described as "misguided" a recent court decision that would prevent the 
government from obtaining records from Internet providers without a 
judge's approval.

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