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The FBI and the National Infrastructure Protection Center Publicly Introduce the National InfraGard Program

Washington, D.C. January 06, 2001
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), located at FBI Headquarters, introduced today the National InfraGard Program to the public.

The National InfraGard Program began as a pilot project in 1996, when the Cleveland FBI Field Office asked local computer professionals to assist the FBI in determining how to better protect critical information systems in the public and private sectors. From this new partnership, the first InfraGard chapter was formed to address both cyber and physical threats.

The NIPC, in conjunction with representatives from the private industry, the academic community, and the public sector, further developed the “InfraGard” initiative to expand direct contacts with the private sector infrastructure owners and operators and to share information about cyber intrusions, exploited vulnerabilities, and infrastructure threats. The initiative, encouraging the exchange of information by government and private sector members, continued to expand through the formation of additional InfraGard chapters, within the jurisdiction of each FBI field office. As of this date, all 56 field offices of the FBI have opened an InfraGard chapter, with a total of 518 company members across the nation.

The National InfraGard Program provides four basic services to its members: an intrusion alert network using encrypted e-mail; a secure website for communication about suspicious activity or intrusions; local chapter activities and a help desk for questions. The critical component of InfraGard is the ability of industry to provide information on intrusions to the local FBI field office using secure communications in both a “sanitized” and detailed format. The local FBI field offices can, if appropriate, use the detailed version to initiate an investigation; while the NIPC at FBI Headquarters can analyze that information to determine if the intrusion is a broader attack on numerous sites. The NIPC can simultaneously use the sanitized version to inform other members of the intrusion without compromising the confidentiality of the reporting company. In addition, the secure website contains a variety of analytic and warning products that can be made available to the InfraGard community.

“The InfraGard Program allows law enforcement and industry to work together and share information regularly, including information that could prevent potential intrusions into our national infrastructure,” said Attorney General Janet Reno. “Building bridges between law enforcement and the public and private sector is one of the most important ways we can protect ourselves from these threats.”

FBI Director Louis J. Freeh also applauds the success of the National InfraGard Program: “Computer crime is one of the most dynamic problems the FBI faces today. I am proud of the progress we have made in dealing with this problem by establishing the InfraGard initiative and opening the lines of communication between the public and private sectors and the law enforcement community. I am confident that we will continue to work together to further develop the capabilities to meet the computer crime problem, in all its facets, head on. Our economy and public safety depend on it.”

For additional information about the National InfraGard Program or infrastructure protection, please contact your local FBI Field Office.