FBI Director Wray Speaks at Cyber Security Conference

FBI Director Christopher Wray served as closing speaker at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York on July 25, 2019. The conference was co-sponsored by the FBI and Fordham University. This video provides highlights from his remarks.

Video Transcript

FBI Director Christopher Wray: So my view is that the cyber threat is bigger than any single government agency and frankly bigger than government itself, but the FBI brings a rare combination of scope and scale,
experience, and tools to the mix.

We investigate criminal activity like intrusions and cyberattacks, but we also investigate national security threats like foreign influence. As a lot of you know we're working very hard to combat a wide variety of digital threats to our election security. In the last few years, we've seen many examples of cyber actors targeting political campaigns to glean intelligence and directing BOTS to propagate divisive messaging. We have yet, happily, to see attacks manipulating or deleting election and voter-related data or attacks that actually take election management systems offline, but we know that our adversaries are relentless. So are we. 

Foreign investment is another issue on our radar because it can be another way that hostile foreign powers seek to exercise their influence. Now our economy benefits tremendously from a wide array of outside investment. At the same time, certain foreign investments in U.S. companies, especially investments by certain foreign governments or closely associated companies or state-owned enterprises can put American proprietary data and technology at serious risk.

And before I wrap up, I want to switch gears to a topic that's particularly important to all of us at the FBI. I want to talk about the FBI's need to ensure that our nation's protectors, the people in law enforcement, have lawful access to the digital evidence they need to stop criminals, and to keep you, your families, and your colleagues safe.

I know I don't want to be contending with a world in which we lose the ability to detect dangerous criminal activity because some technology provider decides to encrypt this traffic, the data in motion if you will, in a way that the content is cloaked and no longer available and subject to our long-standing legal process. Our ability to do our jobs, law enforcement's ability to protect the American people, will be degraded in a major major way.

Last week, we had the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. July 20, 1969. And it's a reminder of just how rapidly technological developments can unfold and the kind of awe-inspiring accomplishments they can yield, but just as the space race showed such rapid change brings hard, hard questions, but as President Kennedy put it at the time, "surely the opening vistas of space promised high costs and hardships as well as high reward." The same applies to us today in the world to cyber so much is happening so quickly
that we're all challenged to keep up, but as we leave here today it's a good time to stop and think a little bit about where we are and where we need to be tomorrow, the next time we're all together at Fordham, or even ten years from now.


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