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Homeland Security Advisory System
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'In the past few years, threats in cyberspace have risen dramatically. The policy of the United States is to protect against the debilitating disruption of the operation of information systems for critical infrastructures and, thereby, help to protect the people, economy, and national security of the United States.We must act to reduce our vulnerabilities to these threats before they can be exploited to damage the cyber systems supporting our Nation’s critical infrastructures and ensure that such disruptions of cyberspace are infrequent, of minimal duration, manageable, and cause the least damage possible. Securing cyberspace is an extraordinarily difficult strategic challenge that requires a coordinated and focused effort from our entire society—the federal government, state and local governments, the private sector, and the American people.'

George W. Bush

 


History


InfraGard is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) program that began in the Cleveland Field Office in 1996. It was a local effort to gain support from the information technology industry and academia for the FBI’s investigative efforts in the cyber arena. The program expanded to other FBI Field Offices, and in 1998 the FBI assigned national program responsibility for InfraGard to the former National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) and to the Cyber Division in 2003. InfraGard and the FBI have developed a relationship of trust and credibility in the exchange of information concerning various terrorism, intelligence, criminal, and security matters.

InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the FBI and the private sector. InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States. InfraGard Chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories. Each InfraGard Chapter has an FBI Special Agent Coordinator assigned to it, and the FBI Coordinator works closely with Supervisory Special Agent Program Managers in the Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

While under the direction of NIPC, the focus of InfraGard was cyber infrastructure protection. After September 11, 2001 NIPC expanded its efforts to include physical as well as cyber threats to critical infrastructures. InfraGard’s mission expanded accordingly.

In March 2003, NIPC was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which now has responsibility for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) matters. The FBI retained InfraGard as an FBI sponsored program, and will work with DHS in support of its CIP mission, facilitate InfraGard’s continuing role in CIP activities, and further develop InfraGard’s ability to support the FBI’s investigative mission, especially as it pertains to counterterrorism and cyber crimes.


Goals & Objectives


The goal of InfraGard is to promote ongoing dialogue and timely communication between members and the FBI. InfraGard members gain access to information that enables them to protect their assets and in turn give information to government that facilitates its responsibilities to prevent and address terrorism and other crimes.

The relationship supports information sharing at national and local levels and its objectives are as follows:

  • Increase the level of information and reporting between InfraGard members and the FBI on matters related to counterterrorism, cyber crime and other major crime programs.
  • Increase interaction and information sharing among InfraGard members and the FBI regarding threats to the critical infrastructures, vulnerabilities, and interdependencies.
  • Provide members value-added threat advisories, alerts, and warnings.
  • Promote effective liaison with local, state and federal agencies, to include the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Provide members a forum for education and training on counterterrorism, counterintelligence cyber crime and other matters relevant to informed reporting of potential crimes and attacks on the nation and U.S. interests.


Local Chapter Activities


Each FBI Field Office has a Special Agent Coordinator who gathers interested companies of various sizes from all industries to form a chapter. Any company can join InfraGard. Local executive boards govern and share information within the membership. Chapters hold regular meetings to discuss issues, threats and other matters that impact their companies. Speakers from public and private agencies and the law enforcement communities are invited. The following illustrates additional activities that local chapters may offer:
  • Training and education initiatives
  • A local newsletter
  • A Contingency Plan for using alternative systems in the event of a successful large scale attack on the information infrastructure


InfraGard Board of Directors


InfraGard members are represented nationally by an elected board of seven representatives called the InfraGard Board of Directors. Elections are held annually at the InfraGard National Congress for voluntary two-year terms. The Board is responsible for representing the membership in the partnership with the FBI. They conduct weekly conference calls to address a variety of issues that face the organization. Board members travel to various chapter activities and attend conferences promoting InfraGard and other issues pertinent to the program.

The Board established several committees to address issues such as membership, incorporation, and partnerships with other private sector associations/organizations. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have also been established to meet the challenges America faces in protecting against criminal, terrorist, and intelligence threats. One such SIG involves InfraGard, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Small Business Administration, and the FBI.


InfraGard Secure Web Site


The InfraGard secure website provides members with information about recent intrusions, research related to critical infrastructure


How to Join InfraGard


i) Find a chapter near you

All InfraGard members are associated with a local chapter. There is no 'National' membership. Visit the chapters page to find a chapter near you.

ii) Understand...

InfraGard is an organization dedicated to the protection of the United States and the American people. In order to maintain a level of trust within the membership, all applicants undergo a background check performed by the FBI (for this reason InfraGard membership is currently limited to United States citizens). Applications are then screened according to a defined criteria and then passed to the local chapter for final acceptance (individual chapters may have more strict criteria).

Along with your InfraGard membership comes great responsibility. We value active members who are willing to devote their time, effort and talent to help build this organization and achieve our goals of protecting the American people. You will be a representative of the nation's largest volunteer organization dedicated to critical infrastructure protection.

Finally, before you fill out your application, please read the InfraGard Code of Ethics and browse the other Policies and Procedures (particularly the Bylaws of the InfraGard National Members Alliance). As a member of InfraGard, you will be expected to abide by these guidelines.

iii)) The application process

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply at a local chapter meeting. Chapter coordinators, leaders and members can help answer questions about InfraGard membership and the application process.

To make application processing easier, typed applications are required.

To fill out an application:

  1. Open the Membership Application (in PDF format )
  2. Read the application completely before filling it out
  3. Print out your completed application
  4. Sign and date page four (4) of the application
  5. Present your completed application, as well as photo identification, (for verification purposes) to a chapter coordinator.
    NOTE: Handwritten applications or PO Boxes will not be accepted.

Once submitted, your application will be processed as quickly as possible. You will be notified of your InfraGard membership status. While your application is being processed, you are encouraged to attend open chapter meetings.

InfraGard Qualified Substitutes for Records Check

The following United States Government-issued Security Clearances are Qualified Substitutes for the records check required for InfraGard Membership:

  1. Confidential
  2. Secret
  3. Top Secret

An InfraGard Applicant/Member may submit evidence of their possession of one of the above clearances to expedite the initial processing and periodic renewal of their InfraGard Membership.




InfraGard Benefits & Services

Why should you become an InfraGard member?

  • FBI Certified and Accredited System
  • Approved for sensitive but unclassified information
  • Accessible from any internet connection
  • VPN Technology
  • No cost to user
  • VPN software provided to user
  • Secure e-mail communication
  • Host based virus scanning of e-mail
  • Secure online information sharing environment: Library articles, Periodicals, DHS Alerts and Advisories

 


InfraGard Links

 

Other useful Links



 


Some material was acquired or derived from the National InfraGard Program & its affiliated InfraGard Chapter resources. In all cases, its redistribution complies with this InfraGard Code of Ethics. Where practical, the materials integrated here are used with permission.

The source material may be copyrighted and all rights are retained by the original author/publisher. The information is provided only for non-profit research and educational purposes.

Reproduction of this material is encouraged; however copies may not be sold. Please cite InfraGard(TM) & www.iwar.org.uk as this information's source. Copyright 2000-2004, www.InfraGard.net, Washington-DC.

Note: For more information on the InfraGard Program, please contact your region's InfraGard chapter coordinator.

For information on the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), please visit the NIPC website or inquire via e-mail at nipc@fbi.gov


Last modified: 15 November, 2005 by Wanja Eric Naef

 


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