Industry partners help battle cybercrime

The Wayne County, Mich., sheriff's department is bringing in outside reinforcements

to combat criminals in cyberspace. The auxiliary force consists of 13 companies

that will donate expertise and resources to help track and capture Internet

criminals.

The department's partnership with corporate America — companies such

as Electronic Data Systems Corp., General Dynamics Corp., Ameritech Corp.,

Xerox Corp., Comerica Inc., Bank One Corp. and Novell Inc. — is an acknowledgement

that law enforcement is technologically overmatched when it comes to electronic

crimes.

"A lot of the training that goes on now is basically how to log on to

a computer, and we're trying to hunt down a hacker," said Stanley Kirk,

the Web Cops Unit's director of e-commerce.

By meeting regularly with corporate network administrators, information

security experts and fraud examiners, Wayne County investigators hope to

gain insight into how and where computer crimes are committed.

"It's kind of like a neighborhood-watch club to spot criminal activity and identify trends," Kirk said.

Companies will contribute to the anti-crime effort in different ways. Some will share knowledge from their experience protecting information systems from intrusion or attack. Others will build an intranet and extranet so different law enforcement agencies can share investigative tips, said Ralph Kinney, WCU commander and deputy chief of staff of the sheriff's department. Companies that are not in high-tech fields are donating furniture or other items.

The companies have contributed about $500,000 in financial, personnel

and equipment resources, and the department is seeking more corporate partners,

Kinney said.

The sheriff's department is spearheading a regional Internet Crimes

Task Force to fight child sexual abuse, fraud, identity theft, hacking,

stalking and other crimes carried out by means of computer and telecommunications

technology. In the past three years it has provided investigative or forensic

assistance to the U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Customs Service, as well

as many cities in Michigan, Kirk said.

"I think it would be safe to say that we have made more Internet-related

arrests compared with all the police departments in the Midwest combined,"

Kinney said.

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