Introducing: The Cybercrime Support Network

How can individuals and small businesses respond if they become a victim of online crimes? How can law enforcement help? Kristin Judge, founder, CEO and president of the Cybercrime Support Network, answers these questions in an exclusive interview.

by / December 2, 2018
Cybercrime Support Network (CSN)

Cybercrime is growing. Last year, CNBC called cybercrime the fastest growing crime in America.

Cybercrime is defined by Merriam-Webster as "criminal activity (such as fraud, theft, or distribution of child pornography) committed using a computer especially to illegally access, transmit, or manipulate data" or "an instance of such activity." 

Others describe cybercrime as "online crime" or "criminal activity that is primarily carried-out in cyberspace or on the Internet."  

Consider these cybercrime numbers from 2017:

  • 301,580 victims reported to FBI/IC3
  • 4 billion victim losses reported to FBI/IC3
  • 15 percent estimated number of victims who report cybercrime to FBI/IC3

So what’s being done to help victims of cybercrime? No doubt, there are many different answers to that question, but a new, coordinated answer has arrived that is gaining national attention, recognition, funding and other resources.

The Cybercrime Support Network (CSN) is a public-private, nonprofit collaboration created to meet challenges facing millions of people and businesses affected each and every day by cybercrime

CSN’s mission is to improve the plight of Americans facing the ever growing impact of cybercrime by bringing together national partners to support cybercrime victims...

  • Before, by pointing consumers and businesses to the best information from experts in cybersecurity education and awareness
  • During, by enabling a local, one-stop access to get someone on the phone who is empathic and responsive and can direct callers to the appropriate support based on crime type
  • After, by providing key contacts to guide in recovery and tools to prevent re-victimization

But before diving deeper into the Cyber Crime Support Network, let me tell you about CSN’s CEO and president, Kristin Judge.

Judge was a county commissioner in Washtenaw County, Mich., from 2008 to 2011. In October 2011, she joined the MS-ISAC as its director of Partner Engagement. In 2014, she joined the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), which leads National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and staysafeonline.org, as a program lead and later as its director of Special Projects and Government Affairs.

Judge has worked on many national cybersecurity issues in a variety of capacities. She has worked closely with the largest companies in the world as well as federal, state and local governments on various aspects of security awareness. She led many national seminars on cyber, like this NCSA roadshow on two-factor authentication.

I first met Kristin in 2011, when we partnered on the Michigan Cyber Summit, which was ground-breaking on numerous new cyberinitiatives with national significance. I was immediately impressed with Kristin’s fabulous people skills and project management and coordination abilities at a national (and even international) level. Kristin is truly gifted in public communication, but also shows the individual attention to people and is an expert on cybercrime topics, which is a rare combination. She is also kind and a true professional in every way, so I was delighted when she accepted my invitation to be interviewed on CSN.

Exclusive Dan Lohrmann Interview with Kristin Judge on the Cybercrime Support Network (CSN)

Dan Lohrmann (DL): Where did the need and specific idea for the Cybercrime Support Network come from?

Kristin Judge (KJ): As a county elected official, I was approached by residents asking who to call for help with online fraud. That was back in 2011. I asked our local sheriff what was available from local law enforcement, and realized that law enforcement was not trained or staffed to support victims of certain online fraud and cybercrime. Discussions with 2-1-1 of Michigan started in 2011 and continued over the years. FBI, Michigan State Police and United Way World Wide started to join in the conversations.

DL: Who is involved?

KJ: Currently we are working with federal, state and local law enforcement and consumer protection agencies to serve cybercrime and online fraud victims. Private-sector companies like AT&T, Comcast, Arbor Insight and Google are supporting our nonprofit and the Craig Newmark Philanthropies gave us a grant to build Fraudsupport.org and pay the salaries of our military family members on our staff. The Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime has awarded CSN and our 211 partners multi-year federal grants to serve victims in west Michigan, central Florida and the state of Rhode Island as our pilot communities.  

DL: What is the role of partners?

KJ: Partners are helping us get the word out about our website and pilot programs through speaking engagements, webinars and newsletters. Sponsors are helping to fund our nonprofit so we can build consistent training, a national resource database and public service campaign. Sponsors from different private-sector areas are serving on our advisory board to help drive the direction of the programming we create. 

DL: How can governments, and specifically law enforcement, get involved?   

KJ: We are working through law enforcement national associations like the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Governors Association to get the message out to their members. As we receive grants to bring programming to a state, we work closely with state and local law enforcement and many times the state attorney general and governor's office.  

DL: Have the vision and goals changed since the launch?

KJ: Since starting as a volunteer group in 2011 to understand the needs of cybercrime victims, the vision and goals have only grown larger. CSN is the only national group being a voice for this underserved victim class. We are working with domestic violence advocates, small business groups and other organizations we did anticipate. The scope of partners interested in helping us serve victims is greater than expected. It is encouraging to us every week when a new partner sees value in our work and wants to get involved. CSN is fortunate to work with groups like NW3C [National White Collar Crime Center], NCFTA [National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance] and the Cyber Threat Alliance to improve the data set of threats facing the American public. 

DL: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Kristin: Thanks!

Final Thoughts

I want to thank Kristin for answer these questions on CSN.

Last month, CSN launched FraudSupport.org. Here's an excerpt from that press release: "FraudSupport.org is a resource database for victims and law enforcement. As a public-private nonprofit, CSN is building FraudSupport.org as the first nationwide initiative developed specifically to help cybercrime and online fraud victims find help after an incident occurs. ..." 

I have no doubt that this effort will grow and mature over the next decade. The need is great, and the support already committed is fantastic. I expect to see their capabilities and partnerships to grow, and I encourage both public- and private-sector leaders to reach out to CSN to get involved.