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Espionage to Murder: The First Cyber Detective

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The January 18, 2014, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with retired Special Agent Jim Christy, Air Force Office of Special Investigations.


Program Date:  January 18, 2014

Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC

Topic: Espionage to Murder: The First Cyber Detective

Listen Live:


About the Guest

Jim Christy left the government in July 2013 after 42 years of public service and now started his own consulting firm, The Christy Group, LLC.  He has also partnered with eventPower to reincarnate the DoD Cyber Crime Conference into the U.S. Cyber Crime Conference.  Jim is a retired special agent that has specialized in cyber crime investigations and digital forensics for over 27 years with the Air Force Office of Special Investigation and Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3).  Jim retired in Nov 2006 as a Special Agent and immediately returned to the federal government and DC3 first as an IPA and later as an HQE (Highly Qualified Expert) senior appointed by the Secretary of the AF as the Director of Futures Exploration (FX) for the DC3. FX the DC3 innovation incubator was responsible for Communication outreach/marketing, cyber workforce development and strategic relationships with other government organizations, private sector, and academia. 


In May 2011, the Air Force graduated the first NCOs for a new AF career field, Cyber Defense Operations, at Keesler AFB, MS.  The staff of the course honored Jim by presenting the top graduate of the class with the Jim Christy Award.  Jim was also selected to make the first presentation of the award and be the keynote speaker for the inaugural course.


In 2010, to fill a National void of qualified digital forensic examiners, Jim created the National Center for Digital Forensics Academic Excellence (CDFAE) Program, a partnership between DC3 and academia.  CDFAE fosters the digital forensic field and encourages growth in a specific STEM field supporting the National Initiative Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Framework Domains.  CDFAE develops a partnership between academia and the government to establish standards and best practices for digital forensics practitioners, educators, and researchers to advance the discipline of Digital Forensics and increase the number of qualified professionals to meet the needs of law enforcement, counterintelligence, national defense and legal communities as well as critical infrastructure owners and operators.


In 2006, Christy created the DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge an international competition that in 2012 had 1,800 participants spanning 49 states and 53 countries. The exercises are designed to develop, hone, and engage participants in the fields of cyber investigation, digital forensics, and cyber security.  It is one of the first venues to employ crowd sourcing in real world mission focused solution development.


Jim has been asked by Mr. Jeff Moss and the Black Hat & Defcon organizers to create and moderate the Meet the Fed panel for approximately 12 years.  Jim brings together the current and former senior cyber government leaders for multiple panel discussions before the worlds largest hacker convention.


From Nov 2003 Nov 2006, Special Agent Jim Christy, was the Director of the Defense Cyber Crime Institute (DCCI), DC3.  The DCCI is responsible for the research & development and test & evaluation of digital forensic and investigative tools for the DoD Law Enforcement and Counterintelligence community. 


From 17 Sep 2001 1 Nov 2003, Jim was the Deputy Director/Director of Operations, Defense Computer Forensics Lab, DC3. As the Dir of Ops for the DCFL he managed four sections with over 40 computer forensic examiners that supported Major Crimes & Safety, Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism, as well as Intrusions and Information Assurance cases for the Department of Defense.


Christy testified before a Florida Select Committee on Terrorism in Dec 2001 at their request, as a result of the 911 attack.


From May 1998 Sep 2001, Jim was assigned to the Defense-wide Information Assurance Program, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control Communications and Intelligence (ASDC3I) as the Law Enforcement & Counterintelligence Coordinator and Infrastructure Protection Liaison. Jim testified before the Arizona State House of Representatives to advocate the creation of the first State Infrastructure Protection Center.


SA Christy served as the DoD Representative to the Presidents Infrastructure Protection Task Force (IPTF) from Sep 1996 May 1998.  The President signed Executive Order, 13010 on 15 Jul 96, creating IPTF to protect the Nations critical infrastructure from both physical and cyber attacks.


From 1986-1998, Jim was the Director of Computer Crime Investigations, and Information Warfare for AFOSI and established the first computer forensics lab in DOD which became the DoD Computer Forensics Lab at DC3.  In 1993, Jim conducted the first Joint Cyber Crime Training which included over 40 investigators from over 15 agencies which became the DC3s Defense Cyber Investigations Training Academy. AFOSI was the first LE agency anywhere in the world to create a Cyber Crime Unit in 1978.


Some of SA Christys notable firsts in Computer Crime Investigations:

1st civilian computer crime investigator in the U.S. Government

1st computer espionage investigation (Hanover Hacker Case), case agent

1st electronic surveillance of a standalone color PC

1st DoD investigator to go undercover on pedophile bulletin boards

1st to distribute wanted poster on the Internet (triple homicide case)

1st to develop forensic technique to recover data from cutup diskette (homicide investigation)

1st psychological profiling study of computer criminals program  (Project Son-of-Slammer)

1st to create the Air Force Computer Forensics Lab

1st to create a DOD Computer Forensics Lab

1st to create a DOD Computer Intrusion Squad

1st Joint DoD and government Cyber training

1st computer crime investigator to testify before the U.S. Senate

1st information security survey of private sector by U.S. Senate (authored)

1st to create government, private sector, academia, program to provide free education and awareness about the cyber threat to infrastructure owners and operators (Manhattan Cyber Project)

1st State Infrastructure Protection Center for Arizona

1st Cyber Crime Conference to support DoD Law Enforcement/Counterintelligence Agencies as well as, the IA & Legal communities-held annually for 12 years

1st Clearinghouse for Intelligence Media Exploitation (CHIME) to support digital media exploitation and sharing of results from media acquired in GWOT

1st Computer Forensics team to support Special Operations (Operation Iraqi Freedom)

1st Law Enforcement official to be awarded the AITP Distinguished Information Science Award

1st Digital Forensics Challenge to create new tools, techniques, and processes to solve ever-changing forensic challenges and share results with the community

1st Secure web portal for Law Enforcement to share Digital Forensics Intelligence in partnership with Oklahoma State Univ.

1st National Center for Digital Forensics Academic Excellence (CDFAE) a partnership between government and academia focused on digital forensics standards

1st National High School Digital Forensics Clubs initiative

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