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Indeed, acts of Cyber Crime have skyrocketed at alarming rates across the globe. Cases of cyber Crime have found opulence in the current crime trends, thus calling for notable efforts to fight them. Primly, cases of Cyber Crime have taken root in St. Louis County and are mostly threatening the children, national security as well as economy, and the confidentiality of private information. Owing to the seriousness of this matter, the police department at St. Louis in Missouri aims at developing a Cyber Crime task force. In this accord, the plan for the proposed task force identifies the best structure to apply, the organizations to collaborate with, the legislations to be put in place to enhance Cyber Crime combating and the requirements for a computer forensics lab necessary in this deployment.
II. St. Louis County Cyber Crime threats
Generally speaking, Cyber Crime has taken root and is continuing to escalate in the world today due to the sky rocketing technology (Wall, 2007). Evidently, St. Louis has not been left out in this world-wide form of crime. Certainly, St. Louis Cyber Crime cases take different forms and range in severity to the inflicted victims. In St. Louis, Cyber Crime cases have remarkably increased and are continuing to take even more advanced forms as is observed in different cases within the County. Granted that, both net-crime and computer crime are common in St. Louis; they have far reaching effects within and outside of the county. Some of the net-crimes perpetrated within St. Louis threaten the national security and national financial health (Wall, 2007). Within this area of Missouri, some of the cybercrime evidence is rated as high-profile crimes, for example, those that threaten privacy of information and fraud of credit cards.
In pursuit of analyzing cyber Crimes evident in St. Louis, categories of threats to national security and financial health, including financial theft, espionage and other cross border Cyber Crimes are observed (Marcum et al., 2010). Besides that, there are crimes which threaten the social health, particularly to the family as they target the children and the minority in the society. Such crimes, posing jeopardy to children include child grooming and child pornography, which are categorized as high-profile in St. Louis (Sontag et al., 2010). Lastly, there are Cyber Crimes in St. Louis, which cause a threat of privacy as they compromise confidentiality or complete loss or interception of private information either lawfully or otherwise.
Markedly, the Cyber Crimes common in St. Louis County take the form of computer intrusion and hacking, identity theft, and password trafficking. Internet scams, spam, phishing, different types of Internet fraud, harassment, and bomb threats are also common. Likewise, common crimes geared against the minors are sexual predator operations and child pornography and exploitation (Marcum et al., 2010).
III. Current and anticipated greatest Cyber Crime threats in St. Louis County (data and statistics)
The Cyber Crimes in St. Louis are seen to be targeted to people as well as to the property as presented by Goodman (2009). Many surveys have been carried out within the St. Louis County as well as outside of the area but projected to be related.
According to the U.S college search (2011), 73% of Americans have experienced some form of Cyber Crime (65% globally) and 66% of the world’s hackers are reported to be Americans.
Similarly, in a general report on high-tech crimes by the High Technology Crime Investigation Association (in which St. Louis is a member of), changes in Cyber Crime from the year 2005 to the year 2010 indicated that; fraud involving the Internet increased by more than 65%, identity theft/fraud increased by more than 60% and child exploitation offenses (child pornography) increased by more than 40% (HTCI, 2010). Other forms of Cybercrimes were noted to trail behind these preferential crimes. Clearly then, Cyber Crimes involving child pornography, identity theft and general frauds over the Internet (e.g. credit card fraud) the current greatest forms of Cyber Crimes in St. Louis. Their trend of increase also may suggest that they can be the future greatest threat in the region as well. These are some of the reasons that necessitate a task force to be set to combat them.
IV. Cyber Crime priorities for the task force
The Cyber Crimes against the minors, especially child pornography and exploitation and sexual predators are escalating at a notable rate (Marcum et al, 2010). The reason behind the popularity of these crimes is the potential market within and outside of St. Louis for the cyber pornography. These crimes have the potential of ruining the future productivity and reputation of St. Louis County. Because, these crimes have similarly proved to be federal offences by crossing the interstate borders, the task force will give them the first priority in its operation.
In addition, general frauds over the Internet are other federal offences and are posing a danger to the national security as well as to the financial health of St. Louis County. Therefore, the set task force will also endeavor into tracking and bringing to justice the perpetrators of these crimes for the sake of wellbeing of the County’s residents.
Finally, the set task force will put its efforts in fighting the crime of identity theft and password trafficking. The reason behind the selection of this type of crime for the task force operation its expanse as it is rated in the Cyber Warfare amongst many states. It is, therefore, causing international concerns and, St. Louis has been focused on by the international community with regard to the same.
V. Cyber Crime Task Force Structure
Cyber Crime is a very sophisticated form of crime in its development, propagation and execution (Marcum et al, 2010). The perpetrators of Cyber Crime are smart and operate under cover in their camouflaged network systems. Moreover, the perpetrators of Cyber Crime are able to hibernate in periods of intense operations by the set task forces as well as dodging the traps of the task forces. These challenges of tracking the Cyber Crimes perpetrators are heightened by the fact that, there is minimal physical operations involved and the web is networked world wide, enabling a wide pool of criminals dispersed all over the world. The possibilities of remailer services further frustrate the tracking efforts by the task forces fighting Cyber Crime.
Owing to the complexity of the task at hand, the task force to be involved with combating Cyber Crime will develop a structure borrowed from other already set Cyber Crime task forces combined with the cyber criminals’ structures recently presented by investigators and researchers such as Finjan researchers.
According to the Finjan researchers, hackers are employing a Mafia-like structure, therefore, the task force will be smarter than this and, will use a pyramid integrated with the mafia-like structure (Kramer et al., 2009). The pyramid sense of the task force will entail the researchers, farmers, dealers, and the consumers. A fluid management of the task force will be operated, entangling multi-agency work forces, the local, state, federal and international government, communities, intelligence groups, fusion centers, and other sector alliances.
The management will assume the position of researcher in the Mafia-Like structure of the hackers. Obviously, setting a fluid management dispersed beyond St. Louis County, and across varied stakeholder, will enhance research work. The key role of the fluid management is to gather information regarding the preference rates, tracking changes in tactics, preference points and other data presumed to be of importance by this management with regard to the three main areas of operation by the task force. After gathering the information, the researchers will relay it through instant messaging networks that will be specially encrypted to prevent fraud.
Next, the task force will develop automated Botnets spread into the cyberspace with specific commands as to the nature of messages and personal preferences partakers of cyber-crimes as well as objectively spying the net. The botnets will develop a Cyber Crime map and automatically keep updating it. Clearly, the botnets assumes the farmers’ position of the Mafia-structure. Ultimately, the mapping process will be set to classify information objectively for the purposes monitoring the three key forms of net-crime by the task force. Frequencies and manner of execution will also be detected and analyzed.
Eventually, the developed maps will be accessible to a special Cyber Crime police intelligence unit, well endowed with computer forensics and other spying wits. Therefore, borrowing from the hackers’ mafia-like structure, the police unit will be the consumers. It will be important that the order of the Cyber Crime police unit have a hierarchical order to effectively tackle the remoteness of cyber-crime in terms of severity and physical manifestation. Expectedly, the net-crime perpetration is at large, executed through digital means, cell phones, computers, and IPods. This will, therefore, call for specialization by the police unit on cyber-crime.
Consequently, some of the police in the special unit will be deployed in the field, while others will be stationed at some set call centers. At this point, the Cyber Crime map will be used to identify key points. Inevitably, the special unit will apply Spy Eye toolkit to mole the net connection of the anticipated zombie machines within the identified key points. Other than the Spy Eye toolkit, attack templates and kits will be applied to inject the Spy Eye toolkit to “attack” broad zombie network systems as deemed right. Prosecuting Attorneys will eventually fall below the special police force on Cyber Crime. These attorneys will be responsible of prosecuting the suspected cybercrime perpetrators.
VI. The personnel and skills to be applied by the task force
The Cyber Crimes against the minors, especially child pornography and exploitation and sexual predators, general frauds over the Internet, and identity theft plus password trafficking involve individuals from different fields of operation. Therefore, their combating requires a pool of special personnel from varied areas, as well. The particular anticipated task force will require personnel in the field of computer forensics, intelligence unit and governmental as well as nongovernmental agencies personnel. It is important to note that, the task force will benefit from the different skills possessed by its fluid management. For instance, the police force will provide their specialty in security, as the intelligence units supply the investigative strategies. In the same way, the computer pros will provide advancement in technology.
VII. Collaborations of the task force in fighting Cyber Crime
Undoubtedly, the task force will need to develop relationships with other federal agencies within and outside of St. Louis County in order to be effective. Some task forces have already been formed in this area and, they are seen to have benefited from their collaborations with other federal agencies within the area. Furthermore, the federal agencies have been in operation, in the area, for a notable period of time and, they are better placed in the research work, operations and dynamics of the area. Actually, setting of the task force appreciates the efforts made by the already existing task forces and agencies in the general fight against crime. Besides, the task force is employing the Mafia-like structure in its operation, and the federal agencies have to play the role of researchers in this structure.
In the light, of the foregoing arguments, the task force will develop a relationship with the Safe Streets Task Forces; an agency that that seeks to unify the federal, state, and local agencies efforts in fighting the operations of violent felons criminal activities. The Cyber Crime Task Force is another agency that the task force will combine its efforts with, since this agency has been operating in fighting general cybercrimes.
Additionally, the task force will cooperate with the St. Louis Joint Terrorism Task Force, which unifies the efforts of 40 local, state, and federal agencies in the investigation of all terrorism leads, as well as, providing support in special events and identification of local and national potential threat areas. The task force will also collaborate with the Internet Crime Against Children (ICAC) task force which assists local law enforcement agencies in technology crimes against children investigations. The other agencies that the task force will join hands with are the St. Louis InfraGard Chapter, Violent Fugitive Gang and Sex Predator Safe Streets Task Force.
VIII. Cyber Crime Task Force Equipment
Equipment, technologies, and items needed for the Cyber Crime Task Force
The Cyber Crime task force will require various equipment, technologies, and items in its operations. The equipment required by the task force includes the computer forensics lab and other field investigation equipment (E-Council, 2011).
Forensics lab equipment to be used by the task force will include the first responder tool kit, evidence packaging, wireless stronghold bags, remote chargers, portable systems of forensic examinations and towers, together with the write protection forensic devices and kits, and mobile tracking devices. Similarly, forensic software tools will be necessary, including CelleBrite UFED System, DIBS Mobile Forensic Workstation and DeepSpar. InfinaDyne Forensic Products and Image MASSter will equally be obtained. Similarly, Logicube, and, CD/DVD inspector as well as TEEL Technologies SIM Tools, and LiveDiscover edition of forensic will be implemented (E-Council, 2011). At the same time, other field investigation equipment will be required, such as technologies, The required items for a Cyber Crime task force include magnifying glasses, printing papers, seizure disks, small flashlight, list of contact telephone numbers for assistance, large rubber bands and gloves (Mohay, 2003).
Likewise, the task force will employ the following techniques in its forensic investigations, cross-drive analysis for the investigations of social networks and anomaly detections. Additionally, the forensic process of the task force will use the live analysis for computer inspections within the operating systems by forensic or existing sysadmin tools for evidence extraction. Particularly important, the task force will be open to apply any other technique that will be developed over time, because it acknowledges the fact that the technology is a dynamic truth (Mohay, 2003). The Cyber Crime has to stay ahead of the game.
IX. Importance of the systems
The hardware and software systems are important in the Forensics lab because, they constitute the avenues for the execution of the Cyber Crime investigations (Mohay, 2003).
X. Legislation and provisions required to be developed in St. Louis County to increase the local law enforcement capacity for investigating cyber crime
In order to pursue cyber criminals, some legislation and provisions should be developed in St. Louis County so as to increase the local law enforcement capacity for cybercrime investigations. Undoubtedly, cyber savvy judges need to be put in place in St. Louis. Proactive laws also need to be implemented within the St. Louis county so as to enforce polices of Cyber Crime. The existing laws across states need to be unified for easier combating of Internet crimes. Certainly, the parliament state laws and policing regarding pornography and sexual predators should be reviewed to minimize the loop holes that are currently evident. Again, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies should be empowered to maintain a high-tech crime combat force.
Inevitably, certain provisions need to be put in place to facilitate in the prosecution of the cyber criminals. For instance, there are notably restrictive laws towards the spying on the net which constrains investigations of Cyber Crimes. In the pursuit of cyber security, provisions allowing for police to spy and hack information objectively, need to be enacted. At the same time, legalized task force should be facilitated by the legislation in setting Botnets to the cyber space.
Owing to the fact that cyber-crime can be interstate and victimless (white-collar crime) combating it requires combined efforts across the globe. However, this has some restrictions from the fact of disparities found in different states legislations. It is, therefore, important that the legislations with regard to child pornography, general frauds over the Internet and identity theft as well as password trafficking be unified and enhanced across different states.
Moreover, severe penalties should be implemented upon the contributors of cyber child pornography, general frauds over the Internet, and identity theft together with password trafficking. Although some states have made progressive efforts in this area, yet these crimes are continuing to sky rocket at alarming rates in St. Louis. At the same time, it is true that such penalties have faced noteworthy objection by some bodies and agencies, making it hard to pass them at the Federal level, but these penalties need to be allowed within the state government.
Of course, the issue of passing of laws and provisions is complex, especially when it involves interactions of different levels of law enactors. Such is the situation in the case of passing laws regarding the task force in St. Louis's case. It is hence important that some of the proposed laws be enacted at the federal government, while others can be enacted in the state government.
Depending on the nature of the Cyber Crime committed the set laws should be passed at the federal government level, at the state level or at local government level. Owing to the sensitivity of some Cyber Crime such as the child pornography and minors sexual predators, vary with states, attempts to pass laws regarding them has faced challenges. It is, therefore, reasonable that such laws be passed within the states where their need is felt.
In conclusion, the cybercrimes of Child Pornography, general fraud over the Internet, and the theft of identity experienced in St. Louis can be combated by a special police unit. The Safe Streets Task Forces and Cyber Crime Task Force are the agencies that the task force will collaborate with in St. Luis in fighting cybercrime.
Cyber forensics lab handles sophisticated operations and equipment and, therefore, its development has varied requirements. It is important to ensure security from unauthorized entry to the Cyber forensic lab, when developing it.
It is also important to set the anticipated number of investigators to be assigned to the developed lab as well as the volume of work expected. Likewise, the lab should have enough power for all expected installations as well as room for future growth. Furthermore, critical hardware forensic software systems should be selected and obtained in the designing stage for the lab. Forensic training should also be done to the personnel before opening the lab.