FBI wants more help from hacked companies

The FBI’s cybersecurity investigations would be more successful if cybercrime victims were more forthcoming, Director Chris Wray told Senate appropriators on Wednesday.

“If we don’t solve the riddle of how to get the private sector promptly and transparently working with us — and more and more companies, I should say, are doing that all the time — but if we don’t make that sort of the norm, we’re going to have a heck of a time winning this conflict,” Wray said at a budget hearing. Although he did not endorse any specific proposal, he told lawmakers that “anything that helps provide more incentive for that to happen, I think is a step in the right direction.”

Cybersecurity is a significant part of the FBI’s budget request. The bureau wants $40 million in new funding for cyber investigations in support of 155 new positions.

“A huge part of that will be going very much to the ransomware campaign that we’re working on,” Wray said. “We did about 1,100 different kinds of disruption actions against cyber adversaries last year. I’m talking about arrests, criminal charges, convictions, dismantlement [and] disruptions.”

Wray said the FBI was going after “the entire criminal ecosystem” around ransomware heists, including not just the actual perpetrators but also helpers and infrastructure providers. “We’re trying to go after the money,” Wray said.

“We’ve got to take a little bit of our page out of the counterterrorism strategy book, everybody working together focusing on prevention and disruption, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” he added.

The director reiterated the FBI’s guidance for targeted companies not to pay ransoms to hackers, but also said that “the most important thing is that [victims] reach out and connect … with us as quickly and transparently as possible.”

The bureau’s fiscal year 2022 budget proposal also includes $15 million in new money to support 22 new jobs to help the FBI improve its own cybersecurity.

“Those funds will help us secure our infrastructure and limit vulnerabilities that threatened the FBI’s mission,” Wray said.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

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