FBI Hunkered in the Bunker

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Imagine this on your plate every morning: terrorist cyber attacks, malicious coders, online sexual predators, phishers, pirates, spammers and scammers.

On the other hand, imagine you have this going for you: the best the world's only super power can give you in personnel, intelligence, hardware and software with cost overruns no problem.

Meet Steve Martinez, cyber G-man.

"Let me be the first to say, we don't have all the answers," Martinez, the deputy assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division, somberly stresses, noting global cadres of sophisticated hackers who'll work for meals. Grifter malicious coders, don't even ask.

Headquarters is the J. Edgar Hoover Building, once a popular Washington tourist destination but now a downtown bunkered fortress surrounded by a 20-foot deep dry moat. Martinez can be found on an indeterminable floor down a long series of halls.

His division is the lead federal law enforcement agency for investigating cyber attacks by foreign adversaries and terrorists. The Cyber Division is also responsible for preventing online criminals from using the Internet to steal, defraud and otherwise victimize U.S. citizens, businesses and communities.

The division is split into four squads: Computer Intrusions, Cyber Crimes Specialized Technologies and Analysis and Information Sharing and Analysis. The FBI declined to name the actual number of employees in the division, but Martinez said the Washington office has approximately 100 agents with a support staff of about 300 analysts and programmers.

In addition, the Cyber Division maintains a "field footprint" with specialized cyber squads at most FBI field offices. Mobile Cyber Action Teams (CATS) assist with specialized expertise anywhere in the world. The FBI maintains Regional Computer Forensic Laboratories throughout the country to help state and local law enforcement.

"Cyber cuts across all [FBI] priorities. A [cyber] attack can come from anywhere and from anyone," Martinez says. "Any place that potentially is a place where the bad guys are operating, we need to get there."

Sometimes, they actually do.

The 2005 CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey, produced by the Computer Security Institute (CSI) and San Francisco FBI's Computer Intrusion Squad, reported that while average losses were down, computer attacks are up. There's been no dent in online child pornography. Spam continues unabated.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.

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