Federal Law Enforcement and Cybercrime


Image retrieved from the FBI

With the advancement of cybercrime, new challenges have arisen that have made it difficult for law enforcement to combat it. All levels of law enforcement have increased training to recognize and strategize against cybercriminals. Federal agencies that focus on cybercrimes include:

Department of Justice,

Federal Bureau of Investigation,

National Security Agency,

Federal Trade Commission,

Postal Service,

Department of Energy,

Department of Homeland Security,

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,

And Secret Service.

Each of the organizations listed have a specific role that they do when investigating cybercrimes. With the advancements of cyberattacks, “agencies have increasingly reorganized in an effort to channel resources directly at preventing digital crimes and apprehending computer criminals” (Taylor et al., p. 257, 2015). Making sure federal agencies are up-to-date is important due to the fact that technology will never stop advancing, making the fight on cybercrime a top priority. A cyberattack can take out critical infrastructure which can affect many people if the federal agencies are not aware of it. In addition to apprehending computer criminals, federal agencies have developed more departments specialized in specific areas pertaining to cybercrime. Also several of the agencies have developed partnerships with other agencies whether it is law enforcement, private industry or the public to “improve collaboration and cooperation to thwart digital criminals” (Taylor et al., p. 258, 2015). The FBI has a huge role in cybercrime, they have a cyber division that coherently works with its criminal investigative division. The FBI studies and alerts localities about cybercrime. In a recent article in the Miami Herald, talks about how the FBI notified Florida about recent cybercrimes occurring all throughout the state. They warned Florida citizens about strange emails that were being sent out which allowed hackers to retrieve the recipient’s information. The article mentioned the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3. According to the article “the mission of IC3 is to provide the public with a reliable and convenient method to submit information about Internet-facilitated criminal activity to the FBI” (Caldwell, C., 2015). Though there are new laws being created to stop cybercrimes, it is difficult for law enforcement to enforce them.

There are some issues law enforcement can run into when dealing with cybercrime. So why are laws pertaining to cybercrimes so much more difficult to enforce than for regular crimes? According to the website TechRepublic, these issues include: branch of law (criminal, civil, and regulatory), geographic location, type of evidence, and anonymity of identity. Due to the advancement of technology law enforcement agencies are becoming better equipped to handle cybercrimes and can now better locate suspects. In order to fix the jurisdictional issue of cybercrime, law enforcement in the United States and around the world are “cooperating to adopt consistent laws, and forming interjurisdictional task forces to deal with cybercrime that crosses state and national boundaries” (Shinder, D., 2011). Therefore as technology advances law enforcement must be able to step up and prevent as much cybercrime as possible. There may be no way to completely end cybercrime, but having the tools to combat it is a step in the right direction for law enforcement agencies.


Caldwell, C. (2015, November 2). Crime watch: Florida is no. 2 in nation for internet-based criminal activity, reports FBI. Miami Herald. Retrieved from: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/community-voices/article42210816.html

Shinder, D. (2011, January 26). What makes cybercrime laws so difficult to enforce. TechRepublic. Retrieved from http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/it-security/what-makes-cybercrime-laws-so-difficult-to-enforce/

Taylor, R., Fritsch, E., & Liederbach, J. (2015). Law enforcement roles and responses. In Digital crime and digital terrorism (Third e., pp. 257-272). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.


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