FBI Director Says America’s Most Valuable Targets Could Be Hit Soon
(UnitedVoice.com) – FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke at length to a crowd of cybersecurity experts at Boston College last week about the clear and present dangers of cyberattacks from rogue nations. The nation’s top lawman warned of impending attacks on military and government targets and citizens, hospitals and schools. The speech, delivered at the annual Boston Conference of Cybersecurity, highlighted ransomware and cyberattacks as one of the most pressing issues facing the American intelligence and law enforcement communities.
A Growing Problem
Wray warned that cyberattacks exploit vulnerabilities wherever they exist, including civilian targets. He laid out the process of state-sponsored ransomware, explaining how digital espionage and other forms of cyber warfare become common in times of conflict. State-sponsored “gangs” of hackers target anything to disrupt everyday life.
Oil and gas supplies, electrical grids, local governments, schools, hospitals, and even individuals might find themselves the victims of hackers. Wray specifically named China as a country interested in stealing intelligence and defense information, while Russia is more likely to use misinformation to influence their ground war.
To combat the issue, Wray suggests cooperation between state and private entities, and he laid out several examples in which federal agents used such cooperation to intervene in an attack and ward off the threats.
The Danger Is Real
According to Wray, 16 of 18 critical infrastructures in the United States suffered some form of attack from foreign actors last year. That amounts to “a lot of things we depend on,” according to the director. Examples include the infamous Avaddon virus, one of the most destructive ransomware chains ever. The bureau isolated the program and published its findings, notifying the public. After the Boston office let everyone know, they were able to help a local police department on the other side of the country ward off an attack.
That’s the kind of cooperation the country will count on moving forward, as America’s enemies continue trying to exploit any weakness they can find. The issue, while growing, certainly isn’t new. Wray reminded the audience of an imminent attack on Boston Children’s Hospital back in 2001 from Iranian hackers and how the FBI field office rushed into action.
Cooperation Is Key
Wray used the incident to highlight the importance of ensuring a readily-available flow of information between the government and the private sector. When a company suffers an attack, it’s beneficial to the whole American business community for them to share their experience, how they overcame it, and the warning signs to look for to avoid becoming the next victim.
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