InfraGard, a non-profit organization, began as a pilot project in 1996 in the Cleveland FBI Field Office to build a better relationship between the FBI and the private sector in addressing cyber- and physical threats. The program includes an Alert Network. Participants in the program agree to supply the FBI with two reports when they suspect an intrusion of their systems has occurred. One report is “sanitized” of sensitive information and the other provides more detailed description of the intrusion. The FBI will help the participant respond to the intrusion. In addition, all participants are sent periodic updates on what is known about recent intrusion techniques. The FBI has set up local InfraGard chapters that can work with each other and regional FBI field offices.
In January, 2001, the FBI announced it had finished establishing InfraGard chapters in each of its 56 field offices. Rather than sector-oriented, InfraGard is geographically-oriented. In June 2001, InfraGard members elected a National Executive Board to govern the national InfraGard program and draft new policies and procedures to enhance the program’s effectiveness.
The InfraGard National Membership Alliance is an association of businesses, academic institutions, State and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants that enables the sharing of knowledge, expertise, information, and intelligence-related to the protection of U.S. CIKR from physical and cyber threats. These communications allow the InfraGard to:
- gather information on cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and intrusions and distribute it to members
- educate the public and members on infrastructure protection
- disseminate sensitive information to members who have signed a secure access agreement, and
- distribute analytical products on information received from InfraGard members.
The national program was transferred to the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), before it was absorbed by the Department of Homeland Security. The program is now managed by the FBI Cyber Division.