The United States Secret Service has decided to take a proactive approach to combating the latest threat to national security: cybercrime. According to a report from Microsoft, attack volumes spiked to almost one million a day during the first week of March. While the number of attacks has decreased since the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, specific sectors have been hit harder than others.
Financial institutions have experienced a 238% increase in cyberattacks just during the first five months of 2020. Hackers have taken advantage of remote workers and the lack of security on personal devices by sending phishing emails and infiltrating internal storage systems. Ransomware and other malicious software have spread through financial institutions and the customers are left with their personally identifiable information (PII) in the hands of cybercriminals.
Cybercrime, in general, has become a serious threat to security, but attacks on businesses and organizations dealing with finances can cause serious harm, especially during a pandemic. The US Secret Service has created a new task force that will work to combat this level of cybercrime in the banking industry.
What is the Secret Service Cyber Fraud Task Force?
The Secret Service Cyber Fraud Task Force is a combination of the Electronic Crimes Task Forces and Financial Crimes Task Forces. Together, their goal is to counteract cybercrimes. Assistant director of the Secret Service, Michael D’Ambrosio, said that there will be a specialized cadre of agents and analysts that are trained in the latest techniques with cutting-edge technology.
As another move towards tackling the financial cybercrime issue, the government is considering legislation that would move the Secret Service from the Department of Homeland Security to the Treasury Department where they once were. The formation of the new task force took place in March while the department announced this move just earlier this month.
They currently have 42 cyber fraud task force locations in the United States and two international locations in London and Rome. They plan to expand the force with a total of 160 offices both nationally and internationally.
A Step Towards Solutions
According to a press release from the Secret Service, since its creation in March, the new task force has been able to do the following:
The release went on to say that Secret Service members need the resources that are only available through a partnership between the cyber and financial realms. “Nearly all Secret Service investigations make use of digital evidence, and the greater technological sophistication by bad actors has led to a proliferation of blended cyber-enabled financial crimes,” the release stated.
As cyber attacks continue during the pandemic and beyond, Secret Service members must be prepared for the complex attacks that are happening. It is imperative that government institutions and consumers have a layer of defense against cybercrime.
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