National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force
Modern day cyber threats come in many forms. Criminals use the Internet to commit fraud and theft on a grand scale and to prey upon our children. Spies and terrorists exploit our networks to steal our secrets, attack our critical infrastructure, and threaten our national security. And because the Internet offers near-total anonymity, it is difficult to discern the identity, the motives, and the location of an intruder.
These multiple and persistent cyber threats cannot be eliminated through the efforts of any one agency. The FBI, along with the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center, forged a strong alliance within the federal government and then expanded this model to critical infrastructures, industry, and international partners. Our leadership role is reflected in the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF).
In 2008, the U.S. President mandated the NCIJTF to be the focal point for all government agencies to coordinate, integrate, and share information related to all domestic cyber threat investigations. The FBI is responsible for developing and supporting the joint task force, which includes 19 intelligence agencies and law enforcement, working side by side to identify key players and schemes. Its goal is to predict and prevent what’s on the horizon and to pursue the enterprises behind cyber attacks.
There are many ongoing efforts in government and industry that focus on making computers, the Internet, and related technologies more secure. Although these important programs help us identify and address cyber threats and vulnerabilities before adversaries are able to exploit weaknesses, these efforts are only part of the solution.
Instead of focusing on reducing cyber vulnerabilities, the NCIJTF focuses on making the Internet safer by pursuing the terrorists, spies, and criminals who seek to exploit our systems. Because they act globally across many jurisdictions, the collaboration at the NCIJTF is critical to ensure all legal means and resources available are used to track, attribute, and take action against these cyber threats and to ultimately place international cyber criminals behind bars and off our global networks.
The NCIJTF also ensures that the privacy rights of all Americans are protected during the course of any cyber investigation it conducts.
The NCIJTF contributes heavily to tracking down cyber threats domestically—whether the perpetrators physically reside in the U.S. or attack computers inside our country from abroad. The NCIJTF maintains extensive partnerships with industry and the private sector to raise threat awareness and proactively identify emerging dangers. By following the letter and spirit of our laws, the NCIJTF is able to establish predication to work with cyber crime victims or to obtain court orders to access information needed to track threats. The unique functions of the NCIJTF allow the U.S. to leverage technology, tactics, and partnerships to best address the global cyber threat.