Just because ISIS isn’t making nonstop headlines these days, it doesn’t mean the security threats here in Boston and our nation have subsided. Far from it.
In fact, at a cybersecurity conference I attended at Boston College yesterday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said cyber warfare is “coming at us from all sides.”
“We’re worried at the FBI and with our partners about a wider range of threat actors, from multinational cyber syndicates and insider threats to hacktivists … and we’re concerned about a wider gamut of methods, from botnets to ransomware, from spearfishing and business email compromise, to illicit cryptomining and (network attacks),” he said.
During his keynote address he also spoke of seeing a blended threat meaning “nation-states using criminal hackers to do their dirty work.”
Wray said “nation-state actors are also turning to more creative avenues to steal information. They are no longer dependent on just intelligence services to carry out their aims. Instead, they utilize people from all walks of life — hackers, business people, academics, researchers, diplomats, tourists — and anyone else who can get their hands on something of value.”
But that’s not all our men and women in blue are up against. Intel agencies are also struggling to keep up with rapidly advancing technology that’s hindering their ability to extract data stored on phones and devices.
Wray said that in 2017 the FBI was unable to unlock data from 7,800 devices in its possession due to technological challenges.
Without the ability to extract the data, the FBI isn’t able to gather the evidence needed to prosecute nefarious actors.
Hence, the threats continue.
Then there’s the Dark Web and disrupting criminal activity in that opaque space, as well as terrorists like ISIS, al-Qaeda and others recruiting and radicalizing online using social media and an endless stream of messaging apps.
Making one wonder if Al Gore should’ve boasted about “inventing” the internet if this is where we’d end up?
Nevertheless, the FBI is working day and night to keep the American people safe despite a kaleidoscope of threats in the digital domain and beyond.
And for that, they deserve our thanks.