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PARTNERSHIPS PROTECTING AMERICA
InfraGard: FBI and Private Sector Join to Safeguard Critical Infrastructures

12/14/04

Infraguard SealIt's the summer of 2003. The MsBlaster worm is unleashed in cyberspace and quickly spreads around the globe. At least a half million computers worldwide are infected, slowing performance and causing some systems to continually reboot. In the U.S., a department of motor vehicles office in one state is forced to close. In Canada, an airline carrier’s check-in system crashes.

It's the twenty-first century: a globalized, systems-driven, networked age. Our job is to prevent attacks—both physical and electronic—against critical infrastructure: banks … hospitals … telecommunications systems … emergency services … water and food supplies … the Internet … transportation networks … postal services … and other major industries that have a profound impact on our lives.

Precisely the point of an eight-year-old alliance between the FBI and the public called InfraGard. Our program has over 14,800 private sector members spread across 84 local chapters nationwide. That's more than the total number of FBI Agents.

These partners represent the full sweep of infrastructure experts in local communities: business executives, entrepreneurs, military and government officials, computer security professionals, academia, state and local law enforcement, and any concerned citizens.

The essence of the partnership is information and intelligence sharing. FBI Agents assigned to each chapter bring meaningful news and information to the table: threat alerts and warnings, vulnerabilities, investigative updates, overall threat assessments, case studies, and more. Our private sector partners—who own and operate some 85 percent of the nation's critical infrastructures—share expertise, strategies, and most importantly, leads and information that help us track down criminals and terrorists.

Here’s a sampling of what local chapters do to protect critical infrastructure:

  • Philadelphia: Developed the Cyber Incident Detection and Data Analysis Center project, which is creating an automated cyber attack early warning system to centralize information on online threats from participating organizations nationwide.
  • Las Vegas: Helped us capture a criminal who used his employer’s computer system to embezzle more than $150,000.
  • Los Angeles: Participated in a two-day, nationwide simulated terrorist attack training exercise with law enforcement and first responders.
  • San Francisco: Trained our agents to identify and stop sophisticated programs that hackers use to infiltrate computers.
  • Vermont: Offers free classes to teach local residents how to protect themselves from online threats.

Interested in joining InfraGard? Membership is open to U.S. citizens, following an FBI record check. For details, visit the InfraGard website.

Link: InfraGard | Cyber Investigations