FBI-led cyber security unit forms as online crime spikes in Connecticut

NEW HAVEN, Conn (WTNH) — Phishing schemes, ransom-ware and malware are just the start of cyber security issues hitting Connecticut.

An FBI-led Connecticut task force has been formed to combat rampant cyber-crime across the state.

“This task force will address the significant increase in the number of cyber-attacks occurring in Connecticut,” said Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

“In the Glastonbury school district alone, 122 fraudulent tax returns were filed, seeking more than half a million dollars in phony refunds,” said Daly.

From identity theft, to drug distribution rings, criminals are hacking for many reasons.

“These defendants bought kilogram quantities of fentanyl, ecstasy, and 40,000 pills of Xanax through sources on the dark web,” said Daly.

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State, federal and local law enforcement are now set to work together and it’s greatly needed.

The number of calls the FBI has received in the last year has increased dramatically.

Digital evidence and investigations are quickly outpacing the physical.

“I have seen stats that almost 90 percent of all cases have some sort of digital evidence associated with them,” said Dr. Abe Baggili of the University of New Haven Cyber Forensics Lab.

Baggili says the task force is great step forward, but Connecticut is still behind the curve when it comes to fighting cyber-crime.

“But I think they are very quickly realizing that it’s a major challenge,” said Bagilli.

He believes the key to gaining ground and stopping cyber crime comes down to research and retaining talent. Right now, Connecticut is falling short.

“Within the state of Connecticut, the one thing that I continuously see in the area of cyber security is a lot if my students are leaving the state as soon as they graduate. So Connecticut as a state is losing this cyber security talent,” said Bagilli.

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