Obama takes on the mob

New strategy against transnational organized crime targets cyber criminals, intellectual property theft.

The White House's strategy to combat international organized crime counts cyber crime as a major aspect of the threat.

In particular, the plan lists cyber crime and intellectual property theft among several major areas of crime to be dealt with. Intellectual property theft, the plan reads, can come "through intrusions into corporate and proprietary computer networks" and can include theft of "movies, music and video games [and] ... proprietary designs of high-tech devices and manufacturing processes."

"As we have learned in the most difficult of ways, the threats that we face are real – and they are constantly evolving," Attorney General Eric Holder wrote in announcing the plan. "But today, with the release of this Transnational Organized Crime Strategy, we usher in a new era of national vigilance, global engagement, and close collaboration among – and beyond – our respective agencies and departments."

The plan also addressed other cyber threats. Online frauds run by Central European cyber crime networks have defrauded U.S. citizens or entities of $1 billion in a year, according to the plan. It also cites the Secret Service as saying that "financial crimes facilitated by anonymous online criminal for a result in billions of dollars in losses to the nation’s financial infrastructure."

The plan also calls for increased intelligence sharing across borders.

Aliya Sternstein reports in NextGov that despite the prominence of cyber crime in the strategy, it was mentioned very little in the White House event to announce the plan. "During a 40-minute White House event to announce the strategy, officials did not mention the words 'Internet,' 'computer' or 'cyber,' " Sternstein writes.

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