On a stealthy tour of a bustling market
in China last fall, Lou Reigel, assistant
director of the FBI’s Cyber Division,
witnessed a crime in progress. Surrounded
by knock-off versions of U.S. merchandise,
Reigel cast his eyes on a high-end golf
bag identical to his own—but at
a fraction of the cost. Then a salesman
plied him with a popular U.S. brand of
jeans, also on the cheap. He didn’t
bite, of course, but the threat to U.S.
businesses—an estimated $50 billion
a year in lost revenues—was clear.
The bogus merchandise, likely the end
result of intellectual property theft,
is one of the many fronts facing the
Cyber Division, which investigates everything
from hackers to Internet child porn to
the theft of trade secrets. Reigel, who
retired at the end of February after
a year in charge of the Cyber Division
and 31 years at the Bureau, spent the
last year forging new relationships with
U.S. companies and other federal agencies.
He presided at a time when online threats—to
individuals and companies—have
become more brazen and sophisticated.
He talked to us about his accomplishments
and the challenges we face in the future.
Q. What were your biggest successes
over the past 12 months?
development of our relationship with
private industry. We’ve become
more aggressive not only in our InfraGard program,
a partnership with U.S. businesses,
but in the computer intrusion section’s
outreach. We’ve made a lot of progress
with industry starting to trust us. They
now know we’ll protect their privacy.
They’re coming to us when they’ve
been hacked, where in the past there
was a hesitancy to reach out for help.
Q. What challenges do you see
down the road?
Reigel: Cyber crime
is expanding. Computer intrusions, particularly
from Asian and Eastern European countries,
are going to continue to grow and get
more complicated. Hackers are getting
more sophisticated. It’s a business
and they’ve become organized in
their efforts. In Innocent Images, we
have about 2,500 federal cases ongoing
every single month and that number continues
to grow. We just changed the priority
for Innocent Images—it used to
be our number-three priority—to
number-two, behind computer intrusions.
Q. Can you tell us more about
your trip to China?
Reigel: I met with
China’s counterpart to the FBI,
the Ministry of Public Security, during
a week-long trip. I think I was successful
in opening the door at least an inch
or two, where we will begin to exchange
information and work cases. They were
pleased to see me come over. They understand
how critical the intellectual property
rights program is to the FBI and to America,
so they understand that this is not something
that is going to go away and they need
to get on board with it.
Q. Do you have suggestions for
people to protect themselves online?
Reigel: When it comes
to children, we strongly recommend the
computer be in a central location. And
we tell parents, “Do not let your
children give out a true name, address,
and particularly a photograph. Never
let you child post a photograph, period.” Parents
also need to employ tracking mechanisms
on their computers and talk to their
kids about what’s out there. It’s
not all pretty.
Innocent Images |
Cyber Division |
Briefs Press About Cyber Crime