Remarks Prepared for Delivery by FBI Boston Division Special Agent in Charge Joe Bonavolonta at 6th Annual Boston Conference on Cyber Security
Good morning, everyone. It’s great to finally be back here—in person—at Gasson Hall to kick off the sixth annual Boston Conference on Cyber Security.
I want to thank the team here at Boston College, as well as FBI Boston Division’s Cyber Task Force for all their hard work in bringing us together to facilitate today’s very important conversation on cybersecurity.
I’d also like to personally thank FBI Director Christopher Wray for joining us today. It’s no easy task to get him out of DC for the day but we managed to do it, and we are incredibly grateful. His presence here today is a testament to how important this threat is to all of us.
This morning, we want to focus on the increasing urgency for all of us to continue to work together to combat today’s cyber threats. Last year, across the United States, the FBI saw an unprecedented increase in malicious cyber activity.
Americans reported losing $7 billion to cybercriminals. Here in the FBI Boston Division’s Area of Responsibility, which covers Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, victims reported losses of more than $184 million. However, we all know actual losses are much higher than that because not everyone reports these compromises to us—and that’s one of the things we are trying to address here today.
Ransomware, business email compromise schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency are among the top incidents reported. FBI Boston receives at least two to three reports per week from new victims, and in some incidents, they’ve suffered tens of millions of dollars in losses. We’ve also seen an uptick in cyberstalking cases.
These attacks are not only impacting our daily lives, but are also threatening our national security, our critical infrastructure, and our economy.
Continued collaboration is critical to our ongoing efforts to strengthen the relationships between the federal government, private industry, and academia, so we can mitigate these threats and go after those responsible.
When you engage with the FBI, we can leverage our capabilities and expertise to mitigate damage done by malicious cyber actors, or even to prevent malicious activity from occurring at all.
We can also leverage our partnerships, and our global reach, like we did earlier this year, to carry out a multi-government operation overseas to terminate and block the activities of an international ransomware subject believed to be responsible for facilitating attacks on dozens of companies in the United States and Europe.
Another success—and I won’t steal the Director’s thunder—is the result of a longstanding relationship we’ve cultivated with Boston Children’s Hospital which you’ll hear more about in a few minutes.
The bottom line is this: cyber risk is a business risk, and cybersecurity is national security. By working together, we can improve our collective ability to protect against the cyber threat, and by reporting these incidents to the FBI, you are working to help prevent these bad actors from victimizing others, and potentially from re-victimizing you.