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Don't Wait for the Criminals: Join InfraGard

Introduce yourself to your local FBI cybercrime agents. You can do this by joining InfraGard, the FBI's civilian outreach program (and a part of NPIC), which brings computer security professionals together with law enforcement to stay informed. InfraGard sends out alert messages on an as-needed basis warning of virus outbreaks, trends in intrusion, and general security information. This comes from the InfraGard Web page:

    InfraGard is a cooperative undertaking between the U.S. Government (led by the FBI and the NPIC) and an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to increasing the security of United States critical infrastructures.

Knowing the parties beforehand is also a good way to make sure that your report is taken with all the seriousness that it deserves. Meeting over donuts at an InfraGard meeting is always preferable to meeting while your knees are still shaking from 16 hours of piecing your Exchange server back together.

Preparedness is the key to successful action on your case. The more information you're able to turn over to law enforcement officers, the easier their job will be—and the more likely you will be to garner a successful conclusion.

Of course, prosecution isn't the only reason to contact law enforcement authorities when a crime has been committed. Computer crime is growing at an alarming rate. Without an accurate tally of incidents, law enforcement officials cannot track trends and warn potential victims. At the very least, reporting that a crime has occurred is key to maintaining a proper cybercrime database. Statistics kept by law enforcement agencies will control budget allocations for computer security in the future, so accurate information is vital.

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