The Ball Brothers Foundation in Muncie has established a funding initiative to combat the threat of cyber attacks on the community. The foundation says Project Sybertooth is more than a funding effort, it’s also a community network to enhance training initiatives and support cybercrime investigations.
Project Sybertooth aims to strengthen the talent pipeline of people trained to address cyber threats as well as bolster the ability of local law enforcement agencies to deter and investigate cybercrime. The initiative also aims to develop new networks of communication between law enforcement, military, elected officials, local banks, local corporations, post-secondary education institutions and nonprofits.
“Cybercrimes are the crime of the future,” said Jim Duckham, chief of the Ball State University Police Department. “It’s so rapidly evolving, and we see how it can really have such a detrimental effect on our community. Someone can be in another part of the world and be committing a crime that impacts our community.”
The foundation says its initial funding for the initiative was a $25,000 grant to Ivy Tech to support the creation of three cybersecurity courses tailored to a cohort of local law enforcement officers. The cohort includes officers from the Muncie Police Department, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and the Ball State University Police Department.
“Cyber attacks can affect anyone. These types of crimes have the ability to shut down governments, businesses and critical infrastructure,” said Tony Skinner, Delaware County Sheriff. “As far as our citizens being victims of internet crimes, this is where it is important for us to have knowledge and experience in these areas.”
The courses include information technology essentials, introduction to information technology networking and introduction to cyber operations security.
Prior to these courses, the foundation says local law enforcement had little to no formal cybersecurity training.
“Most law enforcement agencies had to rely on one of their officers being ‘smart with computers,’ but not much happened beyond that,” Skinner said.
Ball Brothers Foundation says it is inviting the three law enforcement agencies to apply for grants of up to $5,000 to purchase equipment that will further support their cybercrime capabilities.