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FBI Reports Cyber Threat to Congress

The Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Cyber Division reported to Congress on Tuesday that “the FBI considers the cyber threat against our nation to be one of the greatest concerns of the 21st century.” Mr. Steven Chabinsky informed the Senate Judiciary Committee that the United States faces an increasing cyber-threat from both state and non-state actors.

Mr. Chabinsky’s statement stressed the FBI’s actions to counter cybercrime, calling particular attention to the effectiveness of the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF). Mr. Chabinsky briefed the committee on several of the FBI’s most recent successes in combating cyber-crime, highlighting collaboration efforts with domestic and international law enforcement. The FBI now boasts over 2,000 cyber-trained agents, including 1,000 with “advanced ” training.

Though he declined to discuss details of the FBI’s counterterrorism and counterintelligence cyber activities in the non-classified testimony, Mr. Chabinsky did divulge that the FBI is aware of an increasingly high interest in cyber operations by terrorist organizations. Specifically, the FBI is investigating al Qaeda’s recent attempts to obtain more sophisticated cyber tools in what the FBI believes to be an effort to strike U.S. infrastructure targets. Though he denied terrorists currently possess adequate sophistication to carry out such an attack, Mr. Chabinsky stressed the severity of the threat in light of the continuing insufficiency of U.S. cyber-security processes.

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