Panel: Industry crucial to fighting cybercrime

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The private sector, not federal law enforcement, is the most crucial element in fighting cybercrime, a panel of international law enforcement experts said Feb. 15.

Businesses will always be the “tip of the spear” because they see threats before the government does, said Steven Martinez, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division. He spoke at the RSA Conference 2006 here.

Industry also has information and techniques that the government lacks, Martinez said.

Industry, which is the victim of many cybercrimes, must work with the FBI and the Justice Department to provide notice and evidence of crimes, said Arif Alikhan, vice chairman and executive director of the DOJ Task Force on Intellectual Property.

Without partnerships, “we will be left behind by criminal activity,” said Danny De Temmerman, administrator for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security.

The United States needs international cooperation agreements that are more flexible, De Temmerman said. Countries must work together to share information more quickly, efficiently and effectively, he said.

Two main challenges for international law enforcement collaborations are helping judges understand what happened and how they should respond, De Temmerman said. It is also important to ensure that the information provided will hold up in court, he said.

But before either can happen, U.S. and foreign governments must define how they will cooperate, De Temmerman said.

The FBI is already taking steps to improve international collaboration, Martinez said.

The bureau is in discussions to create several international partnerships and will continue to leverage existing ones, Martinez said. The bureau is also now working in Estonia, Romania and other countries for the first time.

The FBI has formed the National Criminal Forensics Training Alliance to allow real-time information sharing with the private sector, Martinez said.

Justice has created 18 specialized cybercrime teams with prosecutors who have technical training, including Certified Information Systems Security Professional certifications, Alikhan said.

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