Partnership of protection: How to join the FBI’s ‘Infragard’ program

El Paso News

Credit: FBI

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Cybercrime is a threat to critical U.S. infrastructure, and the FBI is working with the members of the private sector to enhance threat intelligence.

Infragard is a partnership between the FBI and members of the private sector designed to connect owners / operators of critical infrastructure with information, networking, and emerging technologies to combat cyber security threats.

Special Agent Walter Boyle at the FBI El Paso Division says the goal is to promote ongoing dialogue that focuses on protecting critical infrastructure.

“The FBI recognizes the fact that the nation relies on its business entities, and in order to ensure the lifeblood of the country — the economic viability — it’s important that we engage with those different businesses and companies out there keeping the engine of the economy working,” says Boyle.

Infragard works by providing liaisonships across the country.

Currently, the program has 70,000 members nationally with 77 chapters, including one in El Paso.

Members of Infagard are able to have direct engagement with the FBI and other government agencies and are provided access to FBI intelligence, in addition to opportunities to collaborate and share critical infrastructure assessments. 

Boyle says vetted private sector members include military and  government officials, business organizations, lawyers, security personnel, and more who are committed to providing industry-specific insight to advance national security. 

Cyber threats include terrorism, phishing, data destruction, socially-engineered Trojan viruses, and intellectual property threats. 

Infragard offers members opportunities to attend training and briefings to enhance threat intelligence skills. 

“We decided to liaison with these companies so we could go and explain any security issues that could arise,” says Boyle.

One threat in particular is intellectual property theft.

“Other countries want what we create,” says Boyle, “that’s one of the things we do so well and it’s cheaper to steal it than to create — unfortunately,” he continues. 

The FBI was working to fight virus threats long before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world. Infragard protects the U.S. infrastructure by fortifying private sector defenses against cyber criminal activity.

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t have mass malwares and Trojan horses that could cause us a lot of losses in money,” says Boyle. 

The FBI has moved Infragard intelligence training and briefings online, which is enabling members to attend virtual events across the country.

To learn how to become a member of Infragard, click here.

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