The U.S. Secret Service has created a consolidated network to fight cybersecurity threats with its new Cyber Fraud Task Force (CFTF), which is a merger of the previously known Financial Crimes Task Force (FCTF) and Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF).  The Secret Service said that “The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimates that malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016 alone.” A revamped cybersecurity network is clearly needed to eliminate potential issues surrounding cybercrimes.

The Secret Service Fights Cybercrime with CFTF

CFTF covers a vast range of potential issues, such as business email compromise (BEC), ransomware attacks, or any threat regarding the world of cryptovirology. Since CFTF was established in March 2020, it has been busy. CFTF has stopped numerous COVID-19 related security scams, such as illicit sales of stolen COVID-19 test kits and unemployment fraud schemes. CFTF is already set up in 42 offices including two international locations, with obvious plans to continuously grow throughout more offices in the U.S. and internationally.

What Does the Secret Service Have to Do With Cyber Fraud?

So, what does the Secret Service have to do with cyber fraud? The Secret Service hasn’t always been about the President’s safety. Back in 1865, this agency began as a federal law enforcement agency with the task of suppressing counterfeit U.S. currency. It wasn’t until 1901 that Congress added presidential protection to its job description. After living in the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Secret Service was moved to the DHS in 2003. The Secret Service plays an integral role in minimizing the threats that hamper the integrity of the U.S.’s financial safety.

Cybersecurity Issues Persist within the Government

Back in 2012, Russian hacker, Yevgeniy Nikulin, trespassed into LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Formspring networks, and he has since sold illegal information on the black market. This trial has been postponed twice due to COVID-19 reasons, but it is now back on track within the California government. The CFTF has been created in order to better combat issues such as these all around the country to reduce the risk of a reoccurrence.

Since 2013, 170 agencies have been hit with ransomware attacks. Last summer, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations reported that many agencies, such as the DHS, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, and the Social Security Administration are struggling with cybercrime management. According to the report, “five agencies couldn’t produce a complete list of IT assets, six were unable to keep systems patched with security updates, and seven left personally identifiable information vulnerable to theft.” It’s clear that cybersecurity needs a closer eye.

Competition in the Cybersecurity Game Gets Results

Ever since the 1980s, it has seemed to be an arms-race of sorts between hackers finding new ways to infiltrate networks and organizations finding new ways to prevent them. Look at it like this, Nebraska football first started “power-lifting” in the 1970’s back when weight training wasn’t really a thing. When Nebraska football entered an era of dominance, every other program in the country put all their focus into developing their players with strength training. Government agencies should fight for cybersecurity dominance in the same way. Whenever one agency is implementing something that works, others should adopt it as well. Like the CFTF, They should make it a point to lead this “arms-race” of cybersecurity and prevent situations before they happen.

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Brandon is from La Vista, Nebraska, and is finishing up his degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Management major and minors in Economics and Marketing. Career aspirations are dealing with human relationships, in whichever way fits best.