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Defense inks deal to train more cybercrime fighters

The Defense Department renewed its commitment to investigate cybercrime this week by extending a contract with Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) to operate the Defense Computer Investigations Training Program. Under the eight-year, $86 million contract, CSC will help train cybercrime fighters from the Defense Department's numerous criminal investigation commands. "It's technology training for cops," said Chris Steinbach, director of defense group service delivery at CSC. "We've put 1,400 new law enforcement officials within Defense on the street who know how to deal with crime scenes where there might be digital evidence." The crime fighters have been trained how to disassemble computers, configure networks, search for electronic data and seize electronic equipment without destroying vital evidence. They are also trained to analyze computers for hidden information. Finally, the cybercops practice testifying about computer evidence in the school's mock courtroom, "We train them from beginning to end in how to handle cybercrime," Steinbach said. Cybercrime is divided into two categories. In one category, computers are the instrument of crime. Hackers and other cybercriminals use computers to attack or take advantage of networks and other computers. In the other category, computers are passive devices used to store information pertaining to criminal activities, such as child pornography. Because so many criminals own computers that can be taken as evidence, Steinbach believes all investigators must be trained in how to handle electronic forensic evidence. "More often than not, the chances are that investigators will be walking into a digital crime scene," he said. CSC has 35 instructors in the training program, each with extensive experience investigating cybercrimes. The instructors work in the same building as the Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory in Linthicum, Md. CSC has trained law enforcement officials from other federal agencies and state and local governments in the past. Steinbach expects to train more non-Defense students in the future.