TIPS: Stop.Think.Connect. May Update (DHS)


May 2013 Update


  • Stop.Think.Connect. Commends Law Enforcement for Protecting Communities from Online and Offline Threats
  • DHS Spotlight: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Cyber Crime Center Takes Down Online Criminals 
  • Make Time to Talk about Child Safety
  • HTCIA Brings Cybercrime Prevention Resources to Local Communities    
  • Protecting your Personal Information with P4s$w0rds!

Police Badge

Stop.Think.Connect. Commends Law Enforcement for Protecting Communities from Online and Offline Threats 

In honor of National Police Week May 13-17, 2013, the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign applauds the greater law enforcement community for performing their vital role in the shared responsibility to secure cyberspace.

More than 800,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals across the nation work tirelessly to combat all crimes, including those that are increasingly conducted or at least facilitated through the Internet.

Stop.Think.Connect. recognizes the ongoing efforts of non-profit organizations D.A.R.E. America, InfraGard, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), the National Sheriffs Association (NSA), and Neighborhood Watch that represent law enforcement professionals nationwide and have joined the Campaign’s National Network.

Additionally, the Campaign acknowledges the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) components, such as the United States Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard that uphold the larger law enforcement mission of protecting and defending the nation against all threats. These DHS components have federal law enforcement responsibilities across the nation in counterterrorism, border security, maritime security, and cybercrime.

The Campaign thanks law enforcement professionals across the country for their efforts to promote cybersecurity awareness and prevent cybercrime. Together we can—and we will—maintain a cyberspace that is safer and more resilient for everyone.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Logo

DHS Spotlight: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Cyber Crime Center Takes Down Online Criminals

Cyber criminals are notorious for exploiting vulnerabilities and capitalizing on the ability to access a global network of people connected through the Internet. Fortunately, law enforcement agents and officers across the country and at all levels of government work tirelessly to combat Internet-related crimes and take down online criminals in order to make the Internet a safer and more secure place for everyone.

On Aug. 3, 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced indictments against individuals on five continents who were involved with the online network Dreamboard, marking the largest child exploitation investigation in U.S. history. The investigation was named Operation Delego.

Members of an online network called Dreamboard allegedly traded graphic images and videos of children 12 years old and younger. The members created a massive private library of child sexual abuse and encouraged each other to create new images and videos. Individuals continue to be sentenced under Operation Delego, including most recently a Massachusetts man sentenced to 45 years in federal prison in January. Read more.

HSI led the investigation, relying on the expertise of the agency’s Cyber Crimes Center (C3). The center is home to three units: the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit (CEIU), Cyber Crime Unit (CCU), and Computer Forensics Unit (CFU). C3 is tucked away in a non-descript Virginia office building, but within those walls, special agents and analysts are investigating the country’s toughest trans-border, Internet-facilitated crimes.

On any given day, special agents investigate cases involving international money laundering, counter proliferation investigations, and narcotics trafficking — or as in Operation Delego – online child sexual exploitation and abuse. That’s why it’s necessary for C3 staff to have expertise on a variety of topics, including highly sophisticated technology and computer forensics.

“Criminals will use whatever means necessary to commit their illegal acts, including the Internet. This is why it is important for C3 to employ the latest technology and techniques, so that criminal organizations as uncovered in Operation Delego can be dismantled,” said Special Agent Neil O’Callaghan, CEIU operations section chief, who spearheaded Operation Delego.

In the case of the Dreamboard network, members employed a variety of measures designed to conceal their criminal activity from detection by law enforcement. Members communicated using aliases rather than their actual names. Links to child pornography posted on Dreamboard were required to be encrypted with a password that was shared only with other members.

Members also accessed the board via proxy servers, which routed Internet traffic through other computers in order to disguise a user’s actual location and prevent law enforcement from tracing Internet activity. Dreamboard members also encouraged the use of encryption programs on their computers, including password-protecting computer files to prevent law enforcement from accessing them in the event of a court-authorized search.

That’s why the center must stay in the forefront of ever-changing technology to combat cybercrimes. C3 offers training and advice to HSI’s 200 U.S. field offices and more than 70 ICE attaché offices across the globe. It also has a state-of-the-art laboratory to process and analyze unusual, non-standard, or voluminous amounts of evidence seized by HSI field offices. From time to time, the center’s computer forensic analysts identify, research, and write field office guidance for new storage devices, trends, and technology.

“C3’s mission is to provide the highest level of technical support and training to HSI while employing the most sophisticated investigative techniques to combat today’s cyber criminals,” said Ian Quinn, HSI deputy assistant director and head of C3.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around-the-clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may also be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678

To learn more about tips and resources to keep yourself and your family safer online, please

Kid Fingerprints

Make Time to Talk about Child Safety

In honor of National Missing Children’s Day on May 25, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) encourages you to take 25 minutes to help make children safer.

Developed seven years ago to spread awareness of the issues surrounding missing and exploited children beyond National Missing Children’s Day, the Take 25 Campaign encourages parents and guardians, educators, law-enforcement officers, and other trusted adults to take 25 minutes to talk to children about safety.

The Take 25 Campaign, which runs from April 1 through June 15, encourages local organizations around the country to host safety events and distribute resources to promote adults having safety conversations with children.

How can YOU get involved in the Take 25 Campaign?

  • Host a child safety event through your organization or encourage your religious institution, your child’s school, or local library to host a Take 25 event
  • Pledge to take 25 minutes to talk to children about safety and participate in the Hours Challenge
  • Distribute free literature at an event (i.e. a 5K run or safety fair) being hosted in your community
  • Deliver the Take 25 parent presentation during a local PTA meeting
  • Follow @iTake25 on Twitter and Instagram and “like” Take 25 on Facebook
  • Sign up for the Take 25 e-newsletter

If you need additional information about how to get involved, please visit or contact Caroline Herrera at


HTCIA Brings Cybercrime Prevention Resources to Local Communities

As a new member of the Stop.Think.Connect. National Network, theHigh Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA) works with the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign to educate the public on cybersecurity awareness and the prevention of high tech crimes.

As part of HTCIA’s mission to provide education and collaboration to global members for the prevention and investigation of high tech crimes, technology crime investigation leaders from local HTCIA chapter members are available to speak at events. HTCIA has 33 US Chapters and over 2,000 members across the country that include federal, state, and local law enforcement, private industry, educators and researchers, and product vendors that are involved in investigating high tech crimes. 

If you are you looking for information, resources, or a speaker regarding cybercrime prevention, consider contacting your local HTCIA chapter. To request a HTCIA speaker, click here to locate a chapter near you. While each chapter will strive to attend speaking opportunities, work requirements may prevent them from supporting every request.

To learn more about how to become a member or to access HTCIA resources, visit

Password Image

Protecting your Personal Information with P4s$w0rds!

From email and banking to social media and mobile apps, the average user has a long list of passwords…and the list keeps getting longer. While keeping track of numerous account logins can be tedious, think of the implications if a cybercriminal gains access to your email, financial information, social security number, or even your medical records.

Passwords are the most common means of authentication in the cyber world, but if you don’t make strong passwords or keep them confidential, they’re almost as ineffective as not having any password at all.

Follow the tips below from the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign to make your passwords stronger and help keep them secure:

  • Don’t use words that can be found in any dictionary of any language; use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Don’t use passwords that are based on personal information or that can be easily accessed or guessed, i.e. birthday, names of pets, or favorite movies and books that can be found by a quick search on social networking sites.
  • Use passphrases (“Thispasswdis4myemail!”) when you can and develop a mnemonic device for remembering complex passwords. If necessary, write down your password and store it in a safe place away from your computer.
  • Use different passwords for different accounts and be sure to change them regularly.
  • Update patches and antivirus software, do not install software from untrusted sources, and don’t visit dubious websites that might infect your computer to avoid malware that logs keystrokes.
  • Make sure account login pages use encryption including a URL that has a padlock icon and begins with “https:” instead of “http:”. Some attackers try to trick users by adding a fake padlock icon, so make sure that the icon is in the appropriate location for your browser.

For more information on choosing and protecting passwords, visit the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). For more general online safety tips, visitStop.Think.Connect.

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Updated: May 17, 2013 — 11:50 am

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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