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U.S. Secret Service Creates Cyber Fraud Task Force

The United States Secret Service has announced the launch of a Cyber Fraud Task Force (CFTF), created through the merger of the Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs) and Financial Crimes Task Forces (FCTFs).

The United States Secret Service has announced the launch of a Cyber Fraud Task Force (CFTF), created through the merger of the Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs) and Financial Crimes Task Forces (FCTFs).

Mainly aimed at improving data sharing, interoperability, and the development of investigative skills, the CFTF will be focused on the prevention, detection, and mitigation of financially motivated cyberattacks. The CFTF’s goal, the Secret Service notes, is to arrest and convict cybercriminals.

“The creation of the new Cyber Fraud Task Force (CFTF), will offer a specialized cadre of agents and analysts, trained in the latest analytical techniques and equipped with the most cutting-edge technologies. Together with our partners, the CFTFs stand ready to combat the full range of cyber-enabled financial crimes,” Michael D’Ambrosio, Assistant Director, U.S. Secret Service, commented.

The CFTF, the Secret Service says, was created for better coordination and sharing of resources, and to ensure that investigations of financial cybercrime leverage best practices. By combining the resources and expertise of two forces, CFTF is better placed to investigate cybercrime such as business email compromise (BEC), ransomware attacks, data breaches, and the trading of credit card and sensitive data.

According to the Secret Service, investigators today require an understanding of both the financial and Internet sectors to effectively engage in financial/cybercrime investigations. They also need to combine skills, technologies, and partnerships in the financial and cyber sectors to tackle “blended cyber-enabled financial crimes.”

In today’s environment, cyber and financial crimes are often overlapping, the Secret Service points out. “Online payments and banking are now globally pervasive, credit card numbers and personal information are illegally sold on the Internet and darkweb, and cryptocurrencies have become one of the primary means by which criminals launder their illicit profits.”

The Secret Service currently has 42 domestic and 2 international (London and Rome) CFTF locations, but it plans on extending the network to encompass 160 offices in the U.S. and abroad.

“The evolution of two different task forces into a single unified task force focused on cyber-crime in the Unites States is a strong move that shows how important this issue has become,” Brandon Hoffman, CISO, Head of Security Strategy at Netenrich, said in an emailed comment.

“Cyber-crime continues to grow at a rate beyond anybody’s expectations. Approaching this problem in a fragmented way has proven to be less than comprehensive. Many other nations around the world have national level programming focused on cybercrime activity. The benefits from these programs or agencies include things like aggregated threat intelligence across sectors, focused investigations and investigation support, data and attack sharing for prevention, and much more.”

Related: COVID-19 Fuels Phishing and Scams While BEC Attacks Evolve and Increase

Related: Russian BEC Ring Targets Many Multinational Organizations

Related: ICS-Targeting Snake Ransomware Isolates Infected Systems Before Encryption

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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