“Geeks with guns” fight cyber crime at UNH

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WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – For two straight days, hundreds of law enforcement officers are at the University of New Haven studying a new kind of crime.

“We’re geeks with guns in my department,” said keynote speaker Lt. John Gorman of the New Jersey State Police. “I’m proud of it and I love it.”

The Markle symposium is an annual event at UNH’s Henry Lee Institute. It usually focuses on violent crime. This year, however, the target is cyber crime. Last week came the latest large-scale attack. Dyn, the host of sites like Twitter, Spotify, Ebay and Netflix was targeted in a large-scale denial of service attack.

“In essence, overloading the switchboard for commerce,” explained Governor Malloy (D- Connecticut) explained in his speech. He says Connecticut faces cyber crime like that every day.

“Our information system is attacked anywhere from 150,000-250,000 times a month,” Malloy said.

Cyber crimes now cost people and the government more than all other kinds of crime combined. It is certainly far more efficient than using a gun.

“And we always used to say, ‘Boy you can steal a lot more money with a pen and the odds of you getting caught are a lot less,'” explained Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney, Kevin Kane.

The scope of the internet crime is huge. It goes far beyond stealing your identity or keeping you from watching a show. Cyber terrorism is also a real possibility.

“I think it has particular concern also in the areas of utilities – water company capabilities as well as the electric company distribution systems,” Gov. Malloy said.

Those terrorists also have a direct line into your living room, with threats to your privacy, even the possibility of child porn and sex trafficking.

“So influences are coming into our lives and our homes. Into our child’s bedrooms from around the world, almost overnight,” said Lt. Gorman. “We weren’t really ready for that.”

As frightening as cyber criminals may be, the idea of this year’s Markle symposium is that, if law enforcement officers work together, they can come up with new and improved ways to keep us all safe.

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