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One-On-One Why Cybersecurity is Critical for Law Enforcement | BLOG

Mike Moir, a senior product manager at Entrust, knows how important intelligence and security are in the law enforcement sector. These days, the increasing reliance on computers and the Internet comes with both advantages and drawbacks. Sure, computers allow law enforcement workers unprecedented access to data-gathering tools that can help to solve cases, but they also open up the possibility of privileged information being accessed by outside — and potentially malicious — sources. Fortunately, there's a way to mitigate this risk.

Working to Protect Law Enforcement

In the nearly 10 years that he's been with Entrust, Moir has spent a lot of time working with strong authentication solutions to provide unparalleled degrees of authentication and identity-verifying resources for various industries. Among the different sectors that leverage strong authentication are banking organizations, government groups as well as regular enterprises. In his work with the these platforms, like Entrust IdentityGuard, Moir realized there was another arena where it would be useful: law enforcement. Within the realm of law enforcement, there's a number of threats to security that present a constant risk if left unchecked. The first are attacks on law enforcement computer networks by criminal networks, which are becoming increasingly common. In Swansea, Mass., for instance, a hack of the police system led to the department paying a $750 ransom to hackers, according to CBS affiliate WBZ. What kind of precedent does this set? But system attacks aren't the only malicious encroachments law enforcement officials face. There's also the issue of physical access to facilities — where guns and evidence are kept — as well as the protection of individual officers, whose identities could be stolen or criminally exploited. "There's a real need to protect [law enforcement] information," Moir said. "So that's necessitating the need for stronger and stronger authentication of who these people who are accessing the system." Luckily, this is where trusted identity-based security comes into play. Here are some of the ways our resources keep law enforcement agencies from having their digital identities become vulnerable:
  • Ensure top-of-the-line authentication. As Moir pointed out, the greatest threats to law enforcement are cybercriminals accessing the system. Strong authentication solutions help prevent this by instituting a uniform digital identity that provides a single, secure authenticator and, therefore, eliminates the possibility of outside intrusion.
  • Help meet industry compliance demands. Law enforcement agencies must adhere to a set of standards laid out by the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Service's Division. Authentication standards must be designed to be CJIS-compliant, which means that law enforcement agencies can rest assured that they're not shirking national security requirements.
  • Protect officers day-to-day. As much as police departments need security protection, so too do the officers on the ground, whose daily activities place them in contact with privileged items and data. Let's say, for instance, an officer is at a crime scene and needs to log into the CJIS database to verify something. How can the officer log into this database remotely but also securely? That's where Entrust's PKI offering proves indispensable.
Between helping police meet industry standards and providing for officers on patrol, advanced authentication solutions offer a vital resource for the law enforcement sector. And, as Moir pointed out, these are solutions that law enforcement agencies should definitely implement. "The best you can do is to put the proper systems in place and the proper policies in place," he said.