“The importance of partnerships like law enforcement cyber task forces and alliances with industry cannot be overstated. Those partnerships help develop early awareness of, and a coordinated, proactive response to, the crime problem. The cybercrime problem is constantly changing, requiring law enforcement to develop a flexible and dynamically evolving approach as well.” – www.fbi.gov
The FBI is the lead U.S. governmental agency for investigating cyberattacks in any form whether it be by criminals, overseas adversaries and/or terrorists. As the threat of cyberattacks has increased significantly over the years, protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure in both the private and public sectors is a top priority for the FBI. As the FBI’s cybersecurity role adapts to this growing threat, here are the areas they are focusing on the most:
Areas of priorities
Every year, billions of dollars are lost repairing systems hit by cyberattacks. Some attacks take down vital systems, disrupting and sometimes disabling the work of hospitals, banks, and 9-1-1 services around the country. FBI’s role in combating these threats by building a whole new set of technological and investigative capabilities and partnerships that includes:
- A Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters “to address cybercrime in a coordinated and cohesive manner”;
- Specially trained cyber squads at FBI headquarters and in each of our 56 field offices, staffed with “agents and analysts who protect against investigate computer intrusions, theft of intellectual property and personal information, child pornography and exploitation, and online fraud”;
- New Cyber Action Teams that “travel around the world on a moment’s notice to assist in computer intrusion cases” and that “gather vital intelligence that helps us identify the cybercrimes that are most dangerous to our national security and to our economy;”
- 93 Computer Crimes Task Forces nationwide that “combine state-of-the-art technology and the resources of our federal, state, and local counterparts”;
- A growing partnership with other federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and others—which share similar concerns and resolve in combating cybercrime.
Ransomware impacts and effects almost every major U.S. industry including hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, small businesses and large businesses. A major policy by the FBI is the insistence to not support paying a ransom in response to a ransomware attack on the logic that that paying a ransom not only emboldens current cyber criminals to target more organizations, it also offers an incentive for other criminals to get involved in this type of illegal activity. Therefore, the FBI’s directs its efforts on getting organizations to focus on two main areas:
- Prevention efforts—both in both in terms of awareness training for employees and robust technical prevention controls; and
- The creation of a solid business continuity plan in the event of a ransomware attack.
For the FBI, identity theft is nothing new since they have been dealing with criminals faking IDs for decades, from check forgers to fugitives on the run. However, the FBI see’s the threat as more pervasive and the scams more sophisticated than ever, including online elements. The FBI uses both its criminal, cyber resources and its intelligence capabilities to identify and stop crime groups in their early stages. Additionally, the FBI taps into its investigative partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as information-sharing partnerships with every sector of business, government, and education. The FBI also reaches out with information and education to make sure identity theft doesn’t happen to every day citizens.
While it may seem a daunting task for the FBI to protect Americans from cyberattacks, real progress has been made in recent years towards the discovery, apprehension and prosecution of cybercriminals. For more information on preventative measures against cybercriminals and the FBI’s role in cyber protection, visit their site.