FBI beefs up cyberagent squads nationwide

The FBI plans to reinforce its mission to counter cyberattacks with the formation of new investigative teams specializing in computer intrusions and attacks at all 56 of its field offices around the country. The agency also plans to assign at least one computer forensics examiner to each field office.

The National Plan for Information Systems Protection, released on Jan. 12 by President Clinton, outlines plans for the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) to establish a National Infrastructure Protection and Computer Intrusion Program in the agency's counterterrorism division. The NIPC is charged with centrally managing the nation's defense of telecommunications systems, railroads and electric power systems against attacks.

The plan calls for computer-intrusion squads to conduct network intrusion detection, respond to threats, collect intelligence and conduct counterintelligence investigations.

The FBI also plans to expand its training program to produce technically savvy computer investigators, and will provide that training to federal law enforcement personnel as well as state and local agencies. The NIPC trained 170 FBI agents and 17 personnel from other law enforcement agencies in 1998, and by the end of this year will have trained an additional 500 law enforcement officers.

The NIPC, according to the president's plan, wants to train one computer-intrusion investigator and at least one trainer from state-level investigative agencies in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

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