Photo: Jessica Lerner / Hearst Connecticut Media
NEW HAVEN — Representatives of federal, state and local law enforcement announced Tuesday the formation of the Connecticut Cyber Task Force to investigate complex crimes in cyberspace.
The New Haven-based task force includes representatives from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Connecticut State Police and 11 police departments across the state.
While the task force does not currently include a representative from the New Haven Police Department, U.S. Attorney Deidre Daly said the department is a “great partner” and may be able to join soon but they did not have someone available right now now.
Daly said the reach of cyber criminals can be felt almost every day with “bad actors” seeking to disrupt people’s work, steal their intellectual property and compromise their personal or financial information through dedicated denial of service attacks, spear phishing campaigns, ransomware and malware attacks and other computer hacks or cyber intrusions.
“We know we can, and we must do more,” Daly said. “By working as a single task force throughout the state, we believe we can have a larger footprint and a broader impact identifying and prosecuting the most serious offenders.”
The task force will initially focus cybercrime investigations on two areas: to identify and disrupt criminal organizations that use computer intrusions to defraud companies, and targeting criminal activity on the dark web, notably the illicit acquisition and distribution of fentanyl and other drugs that cause of thousands of overdose deaths annually, Daly said.
“The Connecticut Cyber Task Force will address the significant increase in the number and frequency of cyber-attacks occurring in Connecticut,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Patricia M. Ferrick in the release. “It is our hope that this task force will make a significant impact and serve to better protect the citizens of Connecticut from the ever-changing criminal threats emanating from the internet.”
While the task force is currently “Connecticut-focused,” Daly said there may be opportunities in the future to collaborate with other states. She said the cyber attacks have come from people both inside and outside of the country, mentioning that people have been extradited from Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom for their alleged crimes.
FBI Supervisory Special Agent in Charge Thomas Lawler said while the FBI has received an increased number of calls regarding cyber attacks, the agency is seeing the same thing across all states. “I wouldn’t say it’s worse in Connecticut than anywhere else. The way the internet works is that it doesn’t necessarily depend on where you are globally. It can reach everyone,” he said.
If you believe you’re a victim of a cyberattack, call the FBI in New Haven at 203-777-6311 or visit www.ic3.gov to fill out a form.
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