With the strokes of their pens, officials from two agencies and a local university created a new partnership to fight online crime.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida State University and the National White Collar Crime Center agreed Friday to form the Florida Cybersecurity Institute "to provide research, analysis, training and technical assistance relating to cybercrime," representatives said.
FDLE Commissioner Tim Moore, FSU's Raymond Bye and Gary Lusher, program manager for the National White Collar Crime Center, signed their names to the agreement at a Friday afternoon press conference.
The institute, which has yet to be housed, fully funded or completely staffed, will provide experts in support of Internet security and online-crime analysis and investigation, Moore told reporters.
Florida ranks second in the nation in Internet fraud-related complaints, according to FDLE spokeswoman Jennie Khoen. And so far this year, 73,359 computer-related crimes nationwide were reported to the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute - more than twice as many as last year.
The institute will "develop and maintain training programs ... related to computer crime, computer security, high technology crime, and cyber-related terrorist activities," according to a joint statement. "The partnership will allow for the sharing of resources, expertise and products to enhance efforts to combat computer crimes."
Online criminals "can disrupt our business; they can disrupt our commerce," Moore said. "That's of consequence to all of us."
Through FSU, the institute also will train Florida law enforcement officers and businesses to combat computer crime and develop computer science classes that emphasize online security.
To learn more about FDLE's Florida Computer Crime Center or to report a computer crime, go to www.fdle.state.fl.us/Fc3.