Home News Stories 2004 February Cyberterrorism


A Conundrum
How Do You Prevent Crimes that Haven't Been Born Yet?


That's precisely what Deputy Assistant Director Keith Lourdeau, FBI Cyber Division, addressed on February 24 before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security.

The Topic? Virtual Threat, Real Terror: Cyberterrorism in the 21st Century.

The Witnesses? Besides Mr. Lourdeau, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Malcolm; Director Amit Yoran, Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Division; author Dan Verton; and Chief Information Security Officer Howard Schmidt of eBay.

The Problem? The fact is, the interconnectedness of the Internet with national infrastructure systems has created a whole new landscape to commit crimes, and a whole new set of tools to commit them--a fact that terrorists and criminals are just beginning to understand.

That's why the FBIwith its state, local, federal, international, and private sector partnersis working to get out in front of plots and schemes that are still in their formation stages. Awful things, toosuch as using Internet tools to launch cyber attacks on infrastructure systems in tandem with physical attacks...potentially paralyzing a city, a region, even the nation.

The Solution? Of course intelligence development AND intelligence sharing goes to the heart of the solution. Mr. Lourdeau talks a lot about that, and about the FBI cyber programs that enable us to both gather intelligence and share it. Things like:

  • Honey pot/nets and undercover operations;
  • Cyber task forces in all field offices;
  • Public/private alliances;
  • International cyber investigative support;
  • Mobile cyber assistance teams, cyber action teams;
  • A cyber intelligence center;
  • Cyber tactical analytical case support; and, of course
  • A program of "cyber investigators training" to bring as many law enforcement officers here and around the world up to speed on this state-of-the-art and constantly evolving field as fast as possible.

Interested in learning more? Read Mr. Lourdeau's full statement on the FBI's role in combating cyber terrorism.