Computer Crime Research Center


Prepared Remarks of Attorney General John Ashcroft at the High Technology Crime Investigation Association 2004 International Training Conference

Date: September 28, 2004

... the G-8 Subgroup on High-Tech Crime. Thanks to his hard work, and his colleagues' continuing efforts, we have created a network of high-tech law enforcement agencies from almost 40 different nations now able to respond to urgent Internet crimes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
* Justice Department personnel, including attorneys and FBI agents, have also been instrumental in educating legislators and law enforcement in foreign countries on drafting cyber crime laws and sharing investigative techniques.
* The Department's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section was an active participant in the historic Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. This first-of-its-kind treaty will help ensure that countries around the world have strong cyber crime laws and procedures.
* Our Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section also took a leadership role with the Organization of American States and the Asian Pacific Economic Conference to enhance the ability and cooperation among member nations in the fight against cyber crime.

The importance of these relationships is clear in the case of the "Agobot" virus. This past May, German police arrested a man alleged to be principal creator and distributor of the "Agobot" virus, one of the most pervasive and disruptive viruses released on the Internet. U.S. law enforcement provided information that was instrumental to his arrest, and we are continuing to work both within the United States and in other countries to locate and arrest those whom we believe collaborated with the defendant on the development and release of "Agobot" and related viruses.

In addition, the Department is working closely with nations challenged particularly by Internet fraud. For instance, in response to the rising tide of Internet crime emanating from Nigeria and other West African nations, the President of Nigeria in 2002 established the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.

To strengthen our international cooperation, the FBI has assigned an agent to work exclusively with Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crime Commission. In many of our most important operations, we have received invaluable cooperation from foreign officials. To take two examples:

* When Operation Web Snare was announced, we were joined by Ibrahim Lamorde [La-MORD-ee], Director of Operations at the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission.
* And when Operation Cyber Sweep was announced, we were honored by the presence of Ghana's Deputy Inspector General of Police, Patrick Acheampong [ACK-ey-pong].

Both men coordinated law enforcement efforts that resulted in remarkable successes. This international cooperation across so many fronts shows just how extensive and dedicated the law enforcement community is in the effort to combat Internet crime around the world.

Finally, it is clear that the ability of malicious code to spread quickly now requires private industry and individual citizens to take part in the defense of our critical infrastructure.

Justice Department attorneys and agents meet regularly with industry, trade groups, and state and local law enforcement to improve communication and coordination in our common cause to fight cyber crime.

In addition, we have reached out to citizens with the National White Collar Crime Center, which has played an invaluable role in this cause. The Center and the FBI run jointly the Internet Crime Complaint Center. In 2003, the Internet Crime Complaint Center referred more than 71,000 Internet-related fraud complaints to law enforcement. And in the first half of this year alone, the Center has already referred to law enforcement more than 42,000 Internet-related fraud complaints.

There is evidence that all of our collaborative efforts-including conferences such as the one here today-are working. Even though cyber crime attempts continue to pose a great challenge, we have shown that law enforcement can join forces to respond and reduce the damage caused by those attacks.

A recent survey conducted by the Computer Security Institute and the FBI indicates that fewer companies and government agencies are falling victim to computer crimes and that the monetary loss resulting from those crimes has fallen by 30 percent.

That same survey indicates, however, that we have work left to do. The monetary loss reported by roughly 300 survey respondents still surpassed $140 million, and the respondents reported an increase in losses resulting from viruses and denial-of-service attacks.

We have the privilege and opportunity to serve the cause of justice. I thank you for your commitment to this noble endeavor. This conference allows us to renew our dedication to this cause and forge new bonds of friendship and cooperation. Technology and innovation continue to better our lives and expand opportunity. It is up to us to extend the rule of law and justice to each new sphere of human endeavor.

With your help, I know we will succeed.

Thank you and God bless America.

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