The FBI's Washington field office has created a squad dedicated to investigating intellectual property thefts, part of a more aggressive law enforcement approach on cybercrime.
The squad started this month, with agents pulled from varied areas of expertise to investigate all corners of intellectual property and economic espionage ranging from harmful counterfeit medical products to multi-million-dollar trade secrets plundered by sophisticated hackers, says an AP report.
Trent Teyema, assistant special agent in charge of the office's cyber branch, said, "That pill that you order online: Is that what's supposed to be? Or is it sawdust or something else?" Teyema said. "We're looking at everything from health and safety to theft of trade secrets to intellectual property."
Although motives for cyberattacks vary, a common thread is that virtually all companies these days have an online and international presence, making them vulnerable to a competitor seeking to lift a secret or cripple a website, Teyema said in the report.
"The international access to computers, and multi-national companies — and people wanting convenient access to their systems — that's what's opened up a lot of these vulnerabilities," he said. "It's still old vulnerabilities, old holes in operating systems, that people are getting in by."