Pa. creates cybercrime task force

Pennsylvania's state police department has created the first of several

planned regional task forces to fight the rising tide of computer crimes.

The first task force will be based in Embreeville, Pa., and will cover

11 counties in south-central and southeast Pennsylvania, sharing information

with district attorneys offices and local law enforcement agencies as well

as other state and federal agencies, said Trooper Linette Quinn.

Funded through a $250,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on

Crime and Delinquency, the task force will include representatives from

local police departments and state and federal law enforcement groups who

will be trained and given equipment, such as computers and wireless phones,

Quinn said.

The commonwealth has a computer crime unit within its criminal investigative

bureau, and some local law enforcement agencies have similar units, Quinn

said. But the formation of the regional task force will help agencies pool

resources and share information more effectively as the cybercrime problem

gets worse, she said.

In the past 15 months, the commonwealth has investigated 705 "traditional"

computer crimes — such as fraud, identity theft and child pornography —

and 558 "technical" crimes, including hacking and unauthorized access to

a computer, Quinn said.

"It's becoming more prevalent," she said.

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