National Association of Attorneys General
Hedda Litwin is not your average computer geek. In fact, her speech, often peppered with words like botnet, zombie, pharming, comsec, phreaking, honeypot and spoofing, demonstrates an extraordinary understanding of computers and the dangers that confront children and adults each time they log on.
Since 2003, the New York city native has worked as NAAG’s Cybercrime Counsel, introducing assistant attorneys general across the country to the dark side of computer use. To date, through a joint effort with the University of Mississippi School of Law, NAAG has trained 650 prosecutors and civil enforcement attorneys.
“Cybercrime is any crime that’s facilitated by the use of a computer or electronic device,” Hedda explained. “It’s an important issue for Attorneys General because it affects all of their citizens.”
When people shop online, they’re vulnerable to cybercriminals. Children can unwittingly make themselves easy targets for online predators. GPS devices can be used to spy on people or stalk them in their daily lives. And even cell phones are becoming increasingly popular venues for spam.
“I see a lot more creative uses of the computer and other devices to commit crimes and we’re seeing a lot more sophistication in the criminals than we used to see,” Hedda said.
As an undergraduate at Vassar, Hedda planned on a career in broadcast journalism and had no idea that she would become a pioneer in the fight against cybercrime. Her first job out of college was working as an advisory systems engineer for the IBM Corporation. Initially hired by NAAG as the assistant health care enforcement counsel, she also worked under various grants focusing on crime victims’ rights and violence against women.
Prior to NAAG, she worked for the U.S. Department of Justice Section on Disability Rights. But now, the University of Miami Law School graduate works daily with industry experts, federal agencies and Attorneys General offices to find new ways to defeat spam, stop online fraud and prevent the distribution of child pornography. Her project is also an integral part of the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute (NAGTRI).
Hedda publishes a cybercrime e-newsletter, which features Attorneys General initiatives, case law, legislation and other news of interest. Other resources include a “how to” manual on establishing a cybercrime presence in Attorneys General offices; a national list of cybercrime experts who are available at any time to help law enforcement; and a manual on prosecuting digital evidence cases that will be available later this spring. In conjunction with NAAG, the University of Mississippi School of Law also published a special edition of their law review, which focused on fourth amendment issues related to cybercrime.