FBI Strategy Addresses Evolving Cyber Threat

Director Wray Emphasizes Closer Partnerships to Combat Cyber Threats and Impose Greater Costs to Cyber Actors

FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered remarks for the 2020 Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) National Cybersecurity Summit on September 16, 2020.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray announced the Bureau’s new strategy for countering cyber threats in remarks at the National Cybersecurity Summit today.

The strategy, Wray explained, is to “impose risk and consequences on cyber adversaries”—making it harder for both cyber criminals and foreign governments to use malicious cyber activity to achieve their objectives.

“We’ve got to change the cost-benefit calculus of criminals and nation-states who believe they can compromise U.S. networks, steal U.S. financial and intellectual property, and hold our critical infrastructure at risk, all without incurring any risk themselves,” he said.

The centerpiece of the new strategy is the role the FBI plays as an “indispensable partner” to federal counterparts, foreign partners, and private-sector partners. “We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help our partners do what they need to do,” said Wray. “That means using our role as the lead federal agency with law enforcement and intelligence responsibilities to not only pursue our own actions, but to enable our partners to defend networks, attribute malicious activity, impose sanctions for bad behavior, and take the fight to our adversaries overseas.”

The strategy recognizes that no single agency—or even government—can combat cyber threats alone, and that when possible, actions by the FBI and its partners will be sequenced for maximum impact.

Wray’s remarks helped close out the first in a series of four events hosted by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA. The summit seeks to bring together cyber leaders from government, academia, and industry.

“We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help our partners do what they need to do.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray

This government effort to sequence unilateral, joint, and enabled operations against cyber adversaries is coordinated by the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force. Led by the FBI, the task force includes more than 30 co-located agencies from the Intelligence Community and law enforcement and is focused on the most significant threats.

The collaboration envisioned in the FBI cyber strategy leverages the skills of multiple agencies as well as the insights of industry, nonprofits, and academic institutions. An effective threat response must involve every part of society that is affected by malicious cyber activity and every part of society that can help hold the line against it.

Wray said that the most significant currents threats are coming from the Chinese government targeting our intellectual property, Russian efforts to undermine our critical infrastructure, and increasingly sophisticated criminal cyber syndicates that seek to steal from individuals and institutions.

To combat these evolving threats, the FBI leverages its broad domestic and international presence, with cyber squads in every FBI field office and rapid response teams ready to respond to major incidents wherever and whenever they happen.

The cyber strategy announced by Director Wray builds on more than a century of innovation by the FBI to adapt to and confront threats to the American people.

The FBI Cyber Strategy 

The FBI’s cyber strategy is to impose risk and consequences on cyber adversaries through our unique authorities, our world-class capabilities, and our enduring partnerships. 

Learn more (pdf)