FBI Increasingly Fighting Cybercrime in Ways Other Than Indictments, Official Says
U.S. federal security agencies, including the FBI, are ramping up their efforts to counter cyber threats without solely resorting to criminal indictments, according to an official from the bureau.
Bryan Vorndran, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said the agency is more now more prudent in timing its indictments and in deciding whether or not an indictment is the best action in individual cases, the Associated Press News reported Tuesday.
The FBI has become “much more mature” in the cybersecurity space and is now “keeping an eye down the road in terms of how we have the biggest impact,” Vorndran told the Associated Press.
He added that the FBI’s new approach to fighting cybercrime is more apparent in its interagency efforts, noting that a partner agency might have a solution more effective than pressing charges.
For instance, the FBI will defer its response if the U.S. Cyber Command can implement a more effective deterrent, which the Department of Justice considers as the goal of serving indictments to cybercriminals in the first place.
The Associated Press reported that the FBI itself has turned to measures other than indictments, such as when it recovered about $4.4 million in ransom money from the hackers that attacked Colonial Pipeline in May 2021.
The Russia-linked ransomware crippled the pipeline operator’s computer systems and forced it to temporarily shut down its operations.
The FBI also responded to the Microsoft Exchange hack in early 2021 by securing a remote warrant to gain remote access to hundreds of computers for defensive purposes.
Tags: Associated Press Bryan Vorndran Colonial Pipeline cybersecurity Department of Justice FBI Microsoft Exchange U.S. Cyber Command