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FBI Cyber Executive Briefs Congress on Joint Efforts to Bust Botnets

FBI Assistant Director Joseph Demarest testified before a Senate subcommittee today on cyber criminal threats and the FBI’s progress on campaigns to disrupt and disable significant botnets.

Jul 15, 2014 04:00 PM

FBI Cyber Executive Briefs Congress on Joint Efforts to Bust Botnets

Computer linked to other computersFBI Assistant Director Joseph Demarest testified before a Senate subcommittee today on cyber criminal threats and the FBI’s progress on campaigns to disrupt and disable significant botnets (robot networks). Demarest, who said that the use of botnets is on the rise, explained that they can be used in organized criminal activity, for covert intelligence collection, to attack Internet-connected critical infrastructure, and as weapons in ideology campaigns to instigate fear, intimidation, or public embarrassment.

Demarest highlighted the Bureau’s Operation Clean Slate, an aggressive approach to disrupt and dismantle the most significant botnets threatening the U.S. economy and our national security by targeting the criminal coders who create them. This initiative, according to Demarest, incorporates various entities, including the FBI and our federal partners, international partners, major Internet service providers, the U.S. financial sector, and other private sector cyber stakeholders. He also discussed several recent successes in combating the botnet threat, including actions taken against the Citadel botnet—responsible for the loss of more than a half-billion dollars—and the GameOver Zeus botnet—believed to be responsible for millions of dollars of losses.

Testifying alongside Demarest at the hearing was Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, newly confirmed head of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.

Full testimony | More on botnets