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How Not to Become a Victim: Cyber Security and Doing Business in the Digital Age

The White House Initiative on AAPIs Southwest Regional Network hosted a cyber security awareness symposium for the small business community

On August 26, 2015, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) Southwest Regional Network hosted a cyber security awareness symposium for the small business community, “Doing Business in the Digital Age,” at East Los Angeles College. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Los Angeles Field Office, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Los Angeles Field Office (IRS-CI) participated in the symposium.  We discussed the current threatscape, trends in credit card fraud and identity theft, computer forensics, ways to protect data, and day-to-day best practices for small businesses seeking to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers.

The FBI, for example, discussed cyber security efforts from a global perspective as well as the types of threats and scams facing small businesses in the Greater Los Angeles area. “Today's cyber threats and scams are pervasive and more sophisticated than ever,” said Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI is pleased to partner with our federal colleagues to provide the AAPI small business community with valuable information and the necessary tools to protect their business infrastructure and personal interests from cyber criminals. Through education and community partnerships, we can continue to defeat those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”

DHS-HSI explained the vital role that computer forensics and cyber investigations plays in ongoing enforcement efforts, from dismantling high-dollar fraud schemes to identifying online child predators. And while computers and the Internet are becoming common tools of the trade for criminal organizations, this same technology also affords HSI and other investigative agencies new ways to fight back. “The computer and the Internet are today’s equivalent of the smoking gun,” said Matt Wright, group supervisor of HSI’s Long Beach computer forensics unit. “At DHS-HSI, we are moving aggressively to combat all kinds of online crimes.”

IRS discussed trends in cyber-crimes, identity theft, and phone scams from the IRS-CI’s perspective. “The IRS-CI is pleased to partner with other federal agencies to provide the AAPI community with valuable information to protect themselves from falling victim to cyber-crimes, identity theft and phone scams,” said Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez.

The symposium was attended by approximately 150 community members and generated important discussions about cyber security. Some of the many resources available to small businesses to address cyber security and identity theft are listed below.

Cyber Security Resources:

Identity Theft Resources:

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’s Regional Network (RN) comprises over 250 members in 10 regions, representing more than 30 federal agencies. The RN works to inform local AAPI communities of federal resources.