Cyber security task force takes ‘whole government’ approach

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National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF)
National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF)

In today’s virtual world, it is well-known that cybercrime can jeopardize our privacy, our economy, and even our national security. Less well-known is an organization – the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) – that is working around the clock to fight the threat.

Greg McAleer, an assistant special agent in charge at the U.S. Secret Service who was recently named one of the NCIJTF’s deputy directors says “the NCIJTF uses a whole government approach, employing every tool in our arsenal to address the threat and protect our infrastructure, financial systems, and intellectual property.”

Working largely out of public view, the nearly two dozen federal intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies that comprise the NCIJTF – along with local law enforcement agencies and international and private industry partners – serve as the government’s central hub for coordinating, integrating, and sharing information related to cyber threat investigations.

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Established in 2008 by a presidential directive and administered by the FBI, the NCIJTF is also tasked with identifying cyber hackers and understanding their motivations and capabilities. That knowledge is used to disrupt criminal operations, minimize the consequences of intrusions, and to ultimately bring perpetrators to justice.

This unified, government-wide approach leverages intelligence gathering and sharing among task force partners to gain a strategic view of what our enemies are trying to do within our infrastructure and why.

“Individual local and federal organizations rightfully focus on immediate threats in their areas of responsibility, but the NCIJTF is looking at the overall cyber landscape,” said FBI Special Agent Paul Holdeman, an NCIJTF chief. “We are looking at the broad strategic shifts in the enemy’s tactics and movements. What are these bad actors doing, and what threats do they pose?”

The ability to share intelligence across government agencies integrates the response to intrusions and investigations. “That is the key to the NCIJTF’s success, the exchange of information,” Holdeman said. “Bringing everyone together under one roof has been a huge benefit.”