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FBI Director: Cyber Threat a Top Priority

FBI Director: Cyber Threat a Top Priority - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Robert Mueller Photo: The Judiciary Report
FBI Director: Cyber Threat a Top Priority - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Robert Mueller Photo: The Judiciary Report

The threat from attacks in cyberspace remains a top priority of the FBI, director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee in testimony yesterday. The director also discussed the use of the Internet by terrorists, both for recruiting and radicalization, but also the potential for terrorist attacks using cyberspace as the attack platform.

“As the Committee knows, a cyber attack could have the same impact as a well placed bomb,” he said. “To date, terrorists have not used the Internet to launch a full-scale cyber attack, but other criminal groups have executed numerous denial-of-service attacks and defaced websites, including an incident involving Congressional websites following President Obama’s State of the Union address.”

For the past decade, terrorist groups like al-Qaeda have been using the Internet to recruit and radicalize others, as well as using the Internet as a source of funding, according to Mueller. Cyberspace has also been used for political reasons in cases such as the Estonian attacks in 2007 and the attacks at the start of the Russo-Georgian war in 2008.

Additionally, the FBI is monitoring instances of cyber fraud and cyber attacks hitting U.S. businesses. Both identity theft and cyber fraud have increased 22 percent, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

“These cyber incidents and frauds undermine the integrity of the Internet, threatening the privacy and pocketbooks of all who use it,” Mueller said. “Of course, finding, arresting and punishing those who use the Internet to conduct sexual exploitation crimes remains among our highest responsibilities.”

In an effort to combat cyber threats, the FBI has formed cyber squads in each of the 56 field offices and has also lead the development of the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, according to Mueller. The FBI is also working to expand IC3 and hunting child exploiters.

“With these efforts, the FBI is committed to working with all our state, local, federal, foreign and private partners in response to the cyber threats we face today,” Mueller said.

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