The U.S. Secret Service is expanding its relationship with local universities and financial institutions to prevent and combat electronic crimes, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Yesterday, the service announced it was establishing Electronic Crime Task Forces in nine cities to create public-private partnerships aimed at fighting high-tech computer-based crimes. Those include e-commerce fraud, intellectual property violations, identity crimes, telecommunications fraud, and computer intrusion crimes. “If we could educate private industry and law enforcement about prevention, we could end these crimes,” said agent Matt Lavigna in the Secret Service’s Pittsburgh field office. “Basically we’re looking to confront and suppress technology-based criminal activity that damages the integrity of financial payment systems.”
The local partnership, he said, will continue using Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute CERT Program to help solve cyber crimes and identify weaknesses in financial computer networks. CERT focuses on research, development, training and education, and responds to cases in which computer networks have been breached. For example, if someone hacks into a bank’s computer data base, the Secret Service will investigate and, if necessary, use CERT to help identify the hacker and “plug holes” in the network so the problem does not recur. CERT and the Secret Service release a periodic “Insider Threat Report,” that analyzes acts of insider sabotage on computer systems and provides information and prevention advice.