Who would suspect a few dozen employees, working in a mild-mannered Pittsburgh business park, are hunting down some of the world’s most wanted online criminals?
Not many people know we exist, laughs Ron Plesco, president and CEO of the National Cyber-Forensics Training Alliance
, NCFTA, a non-profit that flies under the radar as it fights cyber crime in tandem with international private industry, law enforcement officials and academia.
President Barak Obama knows. The recently released White House 2009 Cyberspace Policy Review has named NCFTA as one of three international organizations that stand out as an “effective model” in national cyber security.
NCFTA was created in 2002 as an extension of the Pittsburgh High Tech Crimes Task Force. It is considered a global digital epicenter today by federal and law enforcement officials who rely on NCFTA, and the latest forensics technology, to identify dangerous Internet activity—the black market of identification and credit card fraud, malware, password breaches, and more.
“Companies and individuals share intelligence with us,” says Plesco. “Often its information that companies can’t share directly with one another. From a cyber-threat standpoint, industries want to avoid getting a black eye. They use us as a fusion center to disseminate the information.”
Pittsburgh was primarily chosen as NCFTA’s location because it’s outside the beltway, Plesco adds. It’s also home to Carnegie Mellon University's CERT Coordination Center
and close to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center and finger-printing facility in West Virginia, which both work closely with NCFTA.
NCFTA’s model is highly regarded. Similar cyber centers are being considered in Canada and England. “No one else has done what we’ve done. Now everyone is asking for our playbook,” Plesco says.
To receive Pop City free each week, click here
Writer: Debra Diamond Smit
Source: Ron Plesco, NCFTA
xtImage courtesy NCFTA