To protect the classified information stored on her desktop computer, Special Agent Nenette Day uses one of the most powerful tools on the planet-an air gap.
Day points to an IBM ThinkPad resting on the table behind her desk. “That computer is hooked up to the Internet,” she says. “But if you break into it, have a good time: there’s no secret work on it.”
Day belongs to the FBI’s Boston Computer Crime Squad, one of 16 such units located throughout the United States. Each is composed of about 15 agents who investigate all manner of assaults on computers and networks-everything from lone-hacker to cyberterrorist attacks-with a dose of international espionage thrown in for good measure. Crimes range from Web site defacements and break-ins to so-called denial-of-service attacks, which prevent legitimate users from accessing targeted networks.