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Saturday, June 22, 2024

GAO: State Should Fully Evaluate International Partners’ Capacity to Combat Cybercrime

Agencies identified six mutual challenges in building global capacity to combat cybercrime. These included a lack of dedicated resources, difficulties in retaining highly trained staff, and inconsistent definitions of “cybercrime.”

Cybercrimes—such as online identity theft, credit card fraud, and ransomware attacks—are multiplying in frequency and scale around the globe. In 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation received a record number of cybercrime complaints, over 840,000, with potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion. Further, in 2022, the intelligence community noted an increase in ransomware attacks by transnational criminals, which threaten to cause disruptions of critical services worldwide.

The Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security are working with foreign nations to help combat these technology-driven crimes. Collaboration activities include information sharing with foreign partners on current threats and providing cyber training to foreign law enforcement.

But as the lead agency responsible for foreign assistance, State hasn’t fully evaluated whether these activities have been effective in helping foreign nations combat cybercrime, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

GAO’s report notes that State, Justice (DOJ), and Homeland Security (DHS) officials, and experts from international entities identified six mutual challenges in building global capacity to combat cybercrime. These included a lack of dedicated resources, difficulties in retaining highly trained staff, and inconsistent definitions of “cybercrime.” The expert panel also identified challenges in working with the U.S. government, including obstacles in obtaining information, lack of collaboration, and lack of dedicated funding streams.

GAO found that State, DOJ, and DHS have conducted a variety of activities to build foreign nations’ capacity to combat cybercrime. These activities include engaging in information sharing with foreign partners and providing cyber training to foreign law enforcement officers. Agencies’ activities can be grouped into four categories: cooperation and communication, policy and strategy, legal, and training and technical assistance.

The agencies have documented accomplishments for many activities, such as nations joining international treaties aimed at combatting cybercrime. Further, State’s plans include an evaluation of a regional forensics training center. This planned evaluation would meet the department’s requirements. However, GAO found that State has not conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the agencies’ collective efforts. The government watchdog believes that State is in the best position to conduct such an evaluation since it is authorized to provide foreign assistance funding to help build key allies’ and partners’ capacity to combat cybercrime, and has recommended that it do so. State agreed with GAO’s recommendation.

Read the full report at GAO

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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