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EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference 2006. Summary: Winning the Battle against Cyber Criminals

Winning the Battle against Cyber Criminals

Dan Larkin Unit Chief, Internet Crime Complaint Center , Federal Bureau of Investigation

This opening keynote presentation covered the work of the federal government’s Internet Crime Complaint Center , generally referred to as the IC3, and their industry and academic partners.  The IC3 is a joint initiative between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C)


The IC3 has multiple teams in multiple locations, from Pittsburgh, to Nambia, to , working on issues of internet crime.  The efforts of their rapid referral teams push incidents out to law enforcement forces.

The IC3 has identified more than 100 significant spammers and more than 200 Government sites that have been compromised or mis-configured.


 They collaborate with industry & law enforcement against phishing schemes and are working to develop better approaches to and more impact on these scams.  Key elements are keeping a strong focus in this area, enhancing timely intelligence exchange and broadcasting information appropriately as soon as it is confirmed.  Public service announcements are important in the work of the IC3 as a means to getting the word out about new criminal activities.   This is critically important as so many of the criminal sites pop up quickly and are gone quickly too.  More than 5000 Katrina scam sites were up within days of the hurricane.  More than 1000 Tsunami scam sites were active.  Identity theft and online pharmacy fraud are major issues as well.

 Strategic elements of these collaborations are joint work, joint intelligence development and analysis and an ongoing effort to collaboratively develop strategy with their partners.

 The IC3 also develops and refines initiatives thru joint training with industry and law enforcement

Critical and significant to their process philosophy is to investigate first and prosecute second.  They work to lock down evidence quickly to minimize victim impact and maximize understanding of the situation.  They must have a central team to work through leads – where’s the real criminal –which box is compromised? 

The IC3 has three major obstacles: smooth intelligence gathering, lack of resources, and turf issues as in who gets credit for the work.   Some key wins are their work on the Digital Phishnet, Operation Identity Shield, and their work, in general, against organized crime.  They have enabled arrests world-wide.  They also have a public service website for awareness education and which makes internet crime a personal issue for people.  

Larkin suggested that we all participate.  If you don’t have someone you can put onsite at a triage center then consider hiring someone, perhaps jointly with others to represent your community.  They currently have 10 onsite from industry.  To back up the desirability of the West Virginia location, Larkin showed a quick AV clip made by a member of the staff.

It’s important to get information about the IC3 out to the endusers asking them to contribute information.  They are the only ones aggregating internet crime information.  The byword should be “Send to IC3, don’t hit delete”

 The presentation site is

 The IC3 website is located at

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