Their hackers have the upper hand on our hackers, and that’s a deeply disturbing development for the U.S. government.
In the wake of cyberattacks on JBS Foods and Colonial Pipeline, which crippled the businesses and affected millions of people worldwide, FBI Director Christopher Wray is calling for strong increases in security for what he compares with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“There are a lot of parallels, there’s a lot of importance, and a lot of focus by us on disruption and prevention,” Wray said in a Wall Street Journal story on Thursday. “There’s a shared responsibility, not just across government agencies but across the private sector and even the average American.”
“The scale of this problem is one that I think the country has to come to terms with.”
Both of the recent attacks used ransomware methods, in which hackers send software disabling a computer system and then demand a monetary sum – a ransom – in exchange for relinquishing control of those computer systems.
The hacks revealed a glaring weakness in the nation’s tech defense systems, and the U.S. Department of Justice – via internal memo – is planning responses similar to those used against terrorism. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco has U.S. prosecutors keeping everyone in the loop on their specific ransomware investigations.
The White House and national security officials are urging corporations to dial up their vigilance.
President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have a June 16 summit on the schedule, and the Russian involvement is sure to be a sticky topic.
Wray told the Journal: “Time and time again, a huge portion of those traced back to actors in Russia. And so, if the Russian government wants to show that it’s serious about this issue, there’s a lot of room for them to demonstrate some real progress that we’re not seeing right now.”