FBI Memphis
Public Affairs Officer Elizabeth Clement-Webb
July 25, 2022

FBI Memphis Field Office Launches Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign

MEMPHIS—The FBI Memphis Field Office has launched a cybersecurity awareness campaign to educate private sector businesses and organizations in middle and west Tennessee about increased cyber threats.

“Tennessee is home to a booming health care industry, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and world-renowned universities and colleges,” said Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski of the FBI Memphis Field Office. “We all need to work together to strengthen our country’s cyber defenses.”

The campaign will run through September 2022 and will include media engagements, a social media campaign, and presentations to local industry groups on the top cyber threats:

Current Cyber Threats

  • Critical Infrastructure Attacks: The private sector controls most of the country’s critical infrastructure, intellectual property, and personal data, making large corporations and small businesses frequent targets of cyberattacks. In 2021, America’s critical infrastructure experienced an unprecedented increase in cyberattacks.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of malicious software that cyber criminals and nation-state actors often deploy after they have hacked into a victim’s computer to encrypt their data. These bad actors then demand payment of a ransom to unlock the encrypted data. The FBI has observed ransomware attacks become more targeted and has seen the ransoms increase significantly in recent years.
  • Supply Chain Attacks: A business’ cybersecurity is only as strong as that of its trusted vendors. The FBI warns companies that supply chains are increasingly a point of vulnerability for computer intrusions.

Partnering with the FBI Memphis Field Office

As a company or entity strengthens its cybersecurity, the FBI highly recommends engaging with the local FBI field office. Meeting with the FBI before a compromise helps companies understand the potential threats specific to that company. It also provides an understanding of how the FBI protects the confidentiality of victims to determine the severity of a compromise, provide information to help prevent re-infection, and to identify hackers.

When a victim reports a compromise, FBI agents help the organization’s network defenders pinpoint malicious cyber activity, share intelligence to help leaders make decisions during a crisis, and help prevent more damage. The FBI also has specialty teams whose aim is to freeze and seize the money cybercriminals steal from their victims.

Organizations in middle and west Tennessee can call 901-747-4300 to connect with FBI cyber squads or to report compromises. Those located outside of the area can visit https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices to find the FBI office closest to them.

Preventive Steps

In addition to partnering with your local FBI office, companies should also take the following preventive steps:

  • Update and patch operating systems and software.
  • Implement robust access controls, especially for privileged users.
  • Monitor security logs.
  • Audit trusted third parties or others with access to systems and sensitive data.
  • Require personnel to choose a strong, unique password for each account and use multifactor authentication for as many services as possible. Passwords should be changed regularly.
  • Educate personnel about phishing schemes to highlight the risks of clicking on suspicious links, opening suspicious attachments, and visiting suspicious websites.
  • Keep offline backups of data, and regularly test backup and restoration capabilities. Ensure all backup data is encrypted and immutable.
  • Develop a cybersecurity incident response plan that includes the FBI. If compromised, contact the FBI immediately.
  • If you believe someone has compromised your systems, beware of signs of compromises such as broken passwords, myriad pop-ups, slow-running devices, altered system settings, or unexplained online activity.