With the advent of information technology, cyber crime is now a painful reality in the society. Many cases of this type of crime abound in the communities. The extent of cyber crime has been exemplified by hacking of our government’s websites to divulge classified information, which has ignited diplomatic conflicts. Cyber crime has also been reinstated by the criminal use of cyber space to enhance cyber terrorism. The St. Louis County has not been spared from cyber crime; cases of extortion and cyber theft abound in the county’s community. Most of these cases are reported by users of social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Through phony accounts, criminals are able to dupe unsuspecting users of these sites to divulge information, which is then used to steal money and other valuables from the victims. The criminals also have technologies to break into accounts of network users who use weak passwords and take paramount information. The criminals use stolen information to propagate their criminal activities. The pervasiveness of cyber crime in the St. Louis County calls for the implementation of a taskforce to launch countermeasures for cyber crime. An effective taskforce will be of high significance in alleviating the incidence of cyber crime in the County jurisdiction.
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The life is involves computers and technology. With the continued growth in the technology field cyber crime is an unavoidable outcome. As we move toward a digital economy with technological peculiarities, we need to be able to provide a sense of security to the everyday computer users, including the government, business and the people. This report is written so that we may protect St. Louis County with a cyber crime task force powerful to stop these criminals. In St. Louis County there is a wide variety of cyber crime activities, but the problem is not just on the local level. Cyber crime has far reaching possibilities to affect people on a national or international level. Focusing on stopping these local crimes will in turn affect the farther reaching tentacles of cyber crime everywhere.
Cyber Crime Threats in St. Luis County
Based on the data, the greatest cyber crime threats to St. Louis County are illegal gambling, fraud, network attacks, identity theft and cyber bullying. The illegal gambling involves participation of minors in the luck games. The federal law has criminalized the involvement in gambling of people under the age of twenty one. Experienced and unscrupulous gamblers take advantage of the inexperienced and na?ve underage players to cunningly extort money from them; this is against the federal code. The second eminent cyber crime threat in the county is cyber fraud; this is a type of crime whereby criminals con unsuspecting Internet users through misinterpretation of material facts. The example of cases bound in the county is whereby the criminals misrepresent themselves as prospective employers; they require applicants to pay a certain charge to be hired for the desired employment positions. People in the county have also been robbed of valuables by criminals using fake social networking accounts. They ask unsuspecting victims to meet them in secluded places pretending to be good people. As a result the unsuspecting victims find that it is a crime syndicate which takes their valuables. The other type of cyber crime common in the St. Louis County is network attacks. The attackers mostly target organizations and may hack into databases and phish for certain codes, damage the databases or expose confidential information about the organizations. The other pervasive cyber crime in the county is identity theft, meaning that criminals break into victims financial accounts and steal or spend their money. Particularly identity theft happens to people who use weak passwords such as birthdays or children names. The last crime experienced in the county is cyber bullying, which occurs in online gaming where players get abused and emotionally hurt by aggressive opponents. The great extent of cyber crime in the county indicates the need to counter attack and that task force is required to combat these crimes (Kumar & Mittal, 2012).
The Three Cyber Crimes that will be Top Priorities for the Task Force
The three types of cyber crimes that the taskforce should prioritize on include network attacks, cyber fraud and identity theft. The reason is that these offences have been the most pervasive cyber crimes in the county. Network attacks have been reported by several organizations in the county; the organizations disclose cases whereby their online accounts or websites have been tampered with. Usually this is conducted by phishing parties, whose aim is to get confidential information through which they could steal from the organization. For example, cyber criminals may get the organization’s credit cards passwords or their ATM passwords, which they use to steal money from the organizations’ bank accounts. The criminals also may expose classified and confidential information of the organizations. Lastly, they may introduce malicious codes that damage the organizations’ databases (Kumar & Mittal, 2012).
Cyber fraud is also an aggravating type of cyber crime that should be prioritized. Unsuspecting people in the county have been conned by criminals who misrepresent themselves. Most often this occurs in social networking platforms; na?ve social media users are often duped by the criminals and robbed of their valuables. For example, the criminals may pose as acting for certain organizations, they sway the victims to enter into transactions with them on the behalf of the organizations only to realize later that they have been conned. Cyber fraud criminals also misrepresent their identities in social media; they use fake accounts in social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. They pose as good people, meet their victims and abduct them or take off with their valuables.
The third cyber crime that should be prioritized by the task force is identity theft. This type of crime has been regularly reported in the county. It involves criminals breaking into online financial accounts of the victims and stealing their money, passwords and sensitive information. Usually they hack the accounts of the victims to get a pathway into the banking information. The victims of identity theft are those, who use weak passwords for their accounts such as their birthdays or their children’s names. However, with the achievement if milestones in technology, the attackers have developed more sophisticated methods of identity theft. For example, the attackers can put a malicious code into the victims’ accounts and excavate passwords and other valuable information even when the victims use strong passwords (Kumar & Mittal, 2012).
Cyber Crime Task Force Structure
The taskforce will have the functional organization structure, in which the taskforce will be divided into sections with distinct mandates. The taskforce will consist of three major departments, which include the IT team, the forensics teams, and the on-ground monitoring teams. The forensics team will be vested with the responsibility of investigating and analyzing cases of cyber crime and their origins. The IT team will be given the mandate of researching and developing the up-to-date means of controlling cyber crimes. The on-ground monitoring team will have the command to monitor cyber space events to track cyber crimes. The on-ground team will mostly scour the social media for hacking cases and read newspapers and newsletter to track cases of cyber crimes. The three departments will be under the umbrella of top management, to which they will report (Bossler & Holt, 2012).
Personnel and Skills the Taskforce will Need to Investigate the Top Three Cyber Threats
For the taskforce to accomplish its mission of investigating and combating the three pervasive cyber crimes listed above, it will require the relevant personnel and skills. The necessary personnel include information technology savvy individuals who can comprehend the dynamics of cyber crimes. The taskforce also requires an investigative team with experience in analytical work. In addition, the personnel should comprise a legal team with the knowledge of legal standing regarding different kinds of cyber crimes. Moreover, it will be imperative for all the taskforce members to possess relevant skills in information technology as a computer illiterate person will find this type of work difficult. Teamwork skills also will be necessary for the taskforce because the personnel will have to work in conjunction and coordination with one another to accomplish the taskforce mission (Valentine, Hay, Beaver, & Blomberg, 2013).
Federal Agencies in the Area to Develop Relationships the Task Force
The taskforce will need to establish links with intelligence and security agencies based in the St. Louis County. These will include the Federal Bureau of Investigation branch in the county, the Central Intelligence Agency office in the county, and the National Security Agency branch in the area. Establishing links with these agencies will make the task force’s investigative work more effective. Moreover, the coordination with the agencies will keep the taskforce updated on the federal penalties and control mechanisms for cyber crimes. As a result, the taskforce’s strategy for combating cyber crime will be refined all the way through (Bossler & Holt, 2012).
Cyber Crime Task Force Equipment
In order to be effective, the taskforce will require cutting edge technology equipment and gadgets for its work. The equipment should include both hardware and software devices. The software will comprises of sophisticated computers that can accomplish multiple tasks at high speeds, cryptographs for encrypting information to make it hard for criminals to access, biometric machines, computer BIOs and network monitoring tools. The software will include firewalls and antivirus, which will be used to thwart cyber crime endeavors. These equipment pieces will enable the taskforce to detect and thwart cyber crimes. Moreover, it will improve tracking of and catching cyber criminals (Valentine et al., 2013).
Paramount Aspects of a Cyber Crime Lab Capable of Performing Cyber Forensics
The first requirement for effectively performing cyber forensics is that a cyber crime lab must have the necessary personnel. The cyber lab staff should have know-how in information technology, and also have experience in cases of cyber crimes. Secondly, the lab must be in full possession of the relevant equipment used in carrying out cyber forensics. For example, the lab must be equipped with GPS trackers to locate cyber criminals. Moreover, the lab must also possess cryptographs and decryption machines that can interpret malicious codes used by cyber criminals. The lab must also have network monitoring tools that can identify intrusions or suspicious traffic. The bottom line is that the lab must hire IT-savvy personnel and be in possession of modern cyber forensics equipment in order to deliver on its mandate (Maimon, Kamerdze, Cukier, & Sobesto, 2013).
Cyber Crime Legislation
In order to deal thoroughly with the cyber crime menace, stringent legislation must be put in place. Laws and regulations will enable pursuing and apprehension of cyber criminals, as it is the only way to make the mandate of the taskforce effective and operational. The various acts that should be enforced and operationalized through laws are discussed next. Firstly, the legislation on computer abuse and fraud, which passes the penalty for cyber fraud, should be in place. Secondly, there should also be legislation on identity theft and aggravated identity theft laying down the consequences for the committed crime. Thirdly, there should be regulations for the Internet spyware prevention and resultant punishment for breaking the law. Lastly, there should be legislation on access device fraud; this legislation should pass the punishment for the owner of a device found to have been used for cyber crime propagation. These legislations will enable the taskforce to enforce its mandate such that its work is not only investigative but also enforceable (Barker, 2012).
The laws should be passed in the St. Louis County assembly because they will be enforceable only in the county’s jurisdiction. The passage of the legislation in the county’s top arm of administration will give the laws the required effectiveness. People will know the implications of their behavior before they engage in cyber crime activities. The legislation will thwart some cyber crimes through the fear of reprimands and penalties once a criminal is caught carrying out the illegal cyber activity. The consequence of legislations passing is that the task force will work more effectively.
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Cyber crime is a reality in the St. Louis County. This fact calls for enforcement of counter measures to alleviate the ramifications of the illegal cyber activities. One feasible countermeasure is to constitute a cyber crime mitigation taskforce dedicated to investigation and control of cyber crime cases, and arresting cyber criminals. This will be the key step in curtailing the rampant incidences of cyber crime cases in the county. For the taskforce to be effective, it must hire personnel and staff with knowledge and skills in information technology. Moreover, it must also have a forensics lab with the relevant equipment to investigate cyber crime. In addition to the measures listed above, the task force must be affiliated with security agencies in the county. Cooperation on the national level will make the force more effective in enforcement of its mandate. Members of the force should also be familiar with the county laws and regulations to track and apprehend cyber criminals successfully.