Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project


Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY

There is no doubt that as individuals, as businesses, and as a nation as a whole, we are increasingly at risk if we choose to do nothing in the face of our growing infrastructure vulnerabilities. These risks are real.  We don't need to wait for a catastrophe to occur - indeed we must not allow a catastrophe to occur - in order to recognize that much work needs to be done. - Ronald L. Dick, Director US National Infrastructure Protection Center  September 5, 2001

Derived From: Public and Private Entities Face Challenges in Addressing Cyber Threats, GAO-07-705 (June 2007)

What is cyberspace?
National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD-54/HSPD23) defines cyberspace as the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, and includes the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries. Common usage of the term also refers to the virtual environment of information and interactions between people. [2009 Review]
"Cybercrime is a threat to U.S. national economic and security interests. Various studies and expert opinion estimate the direct economic impact from cybercrime to be in the billions of dollars annually. The annual loss due to computer crime was estimated to be $67.2 billion for U.S. organizations, according to a 2005 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) survey. The estimated losses associated with particular crimes include $49.3 billion in 2006 for identity theft and $1 billion annually due to phishing. These projected losses are based on direct and indirect costs that may include actual money stolen, estimated cost of intellectual property stolen, and recovery cost of repairing or replacing damaged networks and equipment. In addition, there is concern about threats that nation-states and terrorists pose to our national security through attacks on our computer-reliant critical infrastructures and theft of our sensitive information. For example, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission report, Chinese military strategists write openly about exploiting the vulnerabilities created by the U.S. military's reliance on advanced technologies and the extensive infrastructure used to conduct operations. Also, according to FBI testimony, terrorist organizations have used cybercrime to raise money to fund their activities. Despite the reported loss of money and information and known threats from adversaries, there remains a lack of understanding about the precise magnitude of cybercrime and its impact because cybercrime is not always detected or reported (cybercrime reporting is discussed further in our challenges section). -

"Numerous public and private entities (federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, industry, and academia) have individual and collaborative responsibilities to protect against, detect, investigate, and prosecute cybercrime. The Departments of Justice (DOJ), Homeland Security (DHS), and Defense (DOD), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have prominent roles in addressing cybercrime within the federal government. DOJ's FBI and DHS's U.S. Secret Service (Secret Service) are key federal organizations with responsibility for investigating cybercrime. State and local law enforcement organizations also have key responsibilities in addressing cybercrime. Private entities-Internet service providers, security vendors, software developers, and computer forensics vendors-focus on developing and implementing technology systems to protect against computer intrusions, Internet fraud, and spam and, if a crime does occur, detecting it and gathering evidence for an investigation. In addition, numerous partnerships have been established between public sector entities, between public and private sector entities, and internationally to address various aspects of cybercrime. For example, the Cyber Initiative and Resource Fusion Unit is a partnership established among federal law enforcement, academia, and industry to analyze cybercrime and determine its origin and how to fight it.

"Federal and state governments and other nations have enacted laws that apply to cybercrime and the legal recourse or remedies available. In addition, there are international agreements to improve the laws across nations and international cooperation on addressing cybercrime. Some federal statutes address specific types of cybercrime, while other federal statutes address both traditional crime and cybercrime."

Derived From: CRS Report (Mar 2009) "In January 2008, the Bush Administration initiated the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (the CNCI) to make the United States more secure against cyber threats. The Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 and National Security Presidential Directive 54 establishing the CNCI are classified. Some details of the Initiative have been made public in Departmental press releases, speeches by executive branch leaders, and analysis and insight offered by individuals that follow cyber security and terrorism related issues. The CNCI “establishes the policy, strategy, and guidelines to secure federal systems.”2 The CNCI also delineates “an approach that anticipates future cyber threats and technologies, and requires the federal government to integrate many of its technical and organizational capabilities to better address sophisticated threats and vulnerabilities.”3 Subsequent to the issuance of the classified directives, congressional committees have held hearings regarding the CNCI and heard testimony from a commission established to address necessary cybersecurity reforms.

"Few details have been publicly released regarding the implementation activities or status of CNCI efforts since the establishment of the initiative. According to one media account, Steven Chabinsky, Deputy Director of the Joint Interagency Cyber Task Force for the Office of the DNI, stated at an information technology security conference that there are 12 objectives supporting the Initiative’s goal of comprehensively addressing the nation’s cyber security concerns. They are:

1. Move towards managing a single federal enterprise network;
2. Deploy intrinsic detection systems;
3. Develop and deploy intrusion prevention tools;
4. Review and potentially redirect research and funding;
5. Connect current government cyber operations centers;
6. Develop a government-wide cyber intelligence plan;
7. Increase the security of classified networks;
8. Expand cyber education;
9. Define enduring leap-ahead technologies;
10. Define enduring deterrent technologies and programs;
11. Develop multi-pronged approaches to supply chain risk management; and
12. Define the role of cyber security in private sector domains.

Threats    Agency [REVISE THESE LINKS]
Threats Against the Network  

Worms, Viruses, Attacks




White House
- Office Science and Technology Policy
- Homeland Security Council
- National Security Council
- Office of Management and Budget (Fed Information Security FISMA)

DHS Lead Agency (Prevention, Alerts, Info Sharing, Recovery)
- NCSD (Prevention, Alerts, Info Sharing, Recovery)
- - US CERT (Prevention, Alerts, Info Sharing, Recovery)
- - - National Control Systems Center
- - - National Cyber Response Coordination Group (NCRCG)
- - - Protected Critical Infrastructure Information Program
- - - Cyber Warning and Information Network CWIN
- - NCS (Prevention, Alerts, Info Sharing, Recovery)
- - Cyberstorm game
- Secret Service (investigation, enforcement)
- Partner: NIST ANTD Internet Infrastructure Protection

DOJ (enforcement, investigation)
- FBI (investigation)
- Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (investigation, prosecution)

- - Partner: NIST ANTD Internet Infrastructure Protection
- CERT (funding) (Prevention, Alerts, Info Sharing, Recovery)
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
- Office of the Director, Defense Research and Engineering
- NSA (crypto)

- - Computer Security Division
- - Advanced Network Technologies Division
- - - Internet Infrastructure Protection (DNSSEC, BGP Sec, Reliability, IPSEC)
- - Critical Infrastructure Protection Grants (funding for R&D)
- - Critical Infrastructure Protection
- - DNS

- Partner: NIST ANTD Internet Infrastructure Protection


NSF (funding for R&D)



DOS, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Computer Security, Cyber Threat Analysis Division


- NRIC (reliability, Best Practices)
- NORS Network Outage Reporting System
- DIRS Disaster Information Reporting System
- E911
- EAS Emergency Alert System
- CMAS Commercial Mobile Alert System
- TSP Telecommunications Service Priority
- WPS Wireless Priority Service

White House
- Office of Management and Budget (Fed Information Security FISMA)

- - NCS

Threats Over the Network  

FTC (Prevention, Consumer Info, Info Gathering, Enforcement)

DOJ (Enforcement)

FCC (SMS Spam - Prevention, Enforcement)

White House
- Office of Management and Budget (Fed Information Security FISMA)


FTC (Prevention, Consumer Info, Info Gathering, Enforcement)

DOJ (Enforcement)

White House
- Office of Management and Budget (Fed Information Security FISMA)

ID Theft

FTC (Prevention, Consumer Info, Info Gathering, Enforcement)

DOJ (Enforcement)

White House
- Office of Management and Budget (Fed Information Security FISMA)

Offensive Content on the Internet

DOJ (Enforcement)

FCC (Erate Condition: CIPA)

- Customs

Gambling DOJ (Enforcement)
eMedicine, Drugs

DOJ (Enforcement)

FTC (Fraud, Consumer Info)

Alcohol Tobacco Sales DOJ (Enforcement)
Hacks to Personal Computers

DOJ (Enforcement)
- Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section

White House
- Office of Management and Budget (Fed Information Security FISMA)

CyberStalking DOJ (Enforcement)
Financial, Investing

DOJ (Enforcement)

- Secret Service

Securities and Exchange Commission

Illegal Wiretaps DOJ (Enforcement)
- Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section
Research NITRD

Table 1: Sources of Cyber Threats

Threat Source Description
Foreign nations "Foreign intelligence services use cyber tools as part of their information gathering and espionage activities. According to the Director of National Intelligence, a growing array of state and nonstate adversaries are increasingly targeting—for exploitation and potential disruption or destruction— information infrastructure, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries."
Criminal groups "There is an increased use of cyber intrusions by criminal groups that attack systems for monetary gain.
Hackers "Hackers sometimes crack into networks for the thrill of the challenge or for bragging rights in the hacker community. While remote cracking once required a fair amount of skill or computer knowledge, hackers can now download attack scripts and protocols from the Internet and launch them against victim sites. Thus, attack tools have become more sophisticated and easier to use.
Hacktivists "Hacktivism refers to politically motivated attacks on publicly accessible Web pages or e-mail servers. These groups and individuals overload e-mail servers and hack into Web sites to send a political message.
Disgruntled insiders "The disgruntled insider, working from within an organization, is a principal source of computer crimes. Insiders may not need a great deal of knowledge about computer intrusions because their knowledge of a victim system often allows them to gain unrestricted access to cause damage to the system or to steal system data. The insider threat also includes contractor personnel.
Terrorists "Terrorists seek to destroy, incapacitate, or exploit critical infrastructures to threaten national security, cause mass casualties, weaken the U.S. economy, and damage public morale and confidence. However, traditional terrorist adversaries of the United States have been less developed in their computer network capabilities than other adversaries. The Central Intelligence Agency believes terrorists will stay focused on traditional attack methods, but it anticipates growing cyber threats as a more technically competent generation enters the ranks.

Cybersecurity: Continued Efforts Are Needed to Protect Information Systems from Evolving ThreatsPDF, GAO-10-230T, p. 4 (Nov. 17, 2009) (citing FBI


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