Mass. has combat plan for cybercrime

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has released an initiative designed to help the Bay State prevent, investigate and prosecute cybercrimes.

The Massachusetts Strategic Plan for Cyber Crime lists six key priorities for fighting cybercrime:
  • Deliver law enforcement training.
  • Support and enhance cybercrime prevention and information-sharing activities.
  • Develop and promote common operating procedures and standards.
  • Examine statewide requirements for processing digital forensic evidence.
  • Secure funding for cybercrime programs.
  • Amend jurisdictional and substantive laws.

The Office of the Attorney General developed the 12-page plan with the assistance of Andrew Macpherson, a research assistant professor of justice studies at the University of New Hampshire and an authority on cybercrimes.

Coakley used information from a survey she circulated to law enforcement employees in April to assess the state's needs in battling cybercrime. She also met with top law enforcement officials for a strategic planning session in June. The cybercrime plan is based on the information and ideas gathered from the survey and planning session, Massachusetts officials said.

The plan will prepare Massachusetts to 'take the necessary steps not only to better investigate and prosecute cybercrime when it occurs, but also to prevent such criminal activity in the first place,' Coakley said. 'The priorities defined in the plan are both practical and tangible, and provide clear benchmarks for our work in the months ahead.'

In collaboration with Microsoft, Massachusetts is offering an all-day training session today for more than 250 law enforcement officers from the state police and local police departments. The session, dubbed 'Cyber Crimes 101,' will focus on how to investigate Web sites, domain names, IP addresses, and e-mail, chat and instant messages. Officers will also learn how to conduct computer forensics and digital evidence processing.

Microsoft has offered similar classes in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Utah.

The Massachusetts attorney general's office recently received a $207,679 grant from the Justice Department to help the state fight cybercrime. The office will use the funds to develop a cybercrime information-sharing program for law enforcement agencies across the state and a law enforcement Web site for sharing information on cybercrimes.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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