TOPEKA – (May 21, 2019) – Funding included in the newly enacted state budget will significantly strengthen the capacity of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to fight cybercrimes, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Kansas Bureau of Investigation Director Kirk Thompson said today.
The state budget for the coming year includes $1 million in dedicated funding for KBI investigative personnel who will focus specifically on computer-based crimes and other cybercrimes committed against Kansans. The new funds will allow the KBI to devote six new agents, an agent supervisor, and a crime analyst to a new unit tasked with responding to major cyber threats in the state.
“Crime in the 21st Century is increasingly committed online, evidence is digital, and traditional jurisdictional boundaries become blurred in cyberspace,” Attorney General Schmidt said. “In this rapidly changing threat environment, it is critical for the KBI, our principal statewide criminal investigation agency, to build capacity that can help protect Kansans from these evolving threats to persons and property.”
Losses reported by victims of cybercrimes in Kansas have grown to more than $17 million in 2018 from $3.9 million in 2015, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center annual report, which tracks reports from victims of Internet crimes.
“In the last several years the incidence of cyber threats affecting Kansans have grown enormously, and so has our need to support our law enforcement partners with these complex investigations,” Director Thompson said. “We are grateful for this funding. It will allow us to form the unit, and start developing the expertise needed to respond to and pursue criminal cases against those committing these intrusive crimes.”
Once the cybercrimes unit is established, newly assigned KBI agents will receive extensive training. The unit will work closely with federal law enforcement partners to provide a rapid response to cyber intrusions, ransomware attacks, malware attacks, malicious data breaches, and other growing cyber threats. Collaboration with federal partners will be critical to the efforts of the cybercrimes unit due to the constantly evolving threat environment and the global reach of cybercrime. The new unit also will coordinate closely with the Fraud and Abuse Litigation Division and the Consumer Protection Division in the Attorney General’s Office, both of which prosecute cyber cases within their jurisdiction.
Funding for the new cybercrimes unit will become available with the start of the new fiscal year July 1. The funding was requested last fall by the KBI but was not initially included in the Governor’s budget recommendation submitted to the Legislature in January. The Legislature worked with bipartisan cooperation to add the funds to the budget during its recent session, and the Governor yesterday signed the new funding into law.