Mueller called on the private sector, particularly the information security profession, to assist government in the fight against cyberattacks from hactivists, criminals, and state-sponsored groups.
The FBI director warned that foreign groups are stealing US intellectual property and innovation. “We are losing data, we are losing money, we are losing ideas and we are losing innovation. And as citizens, we are increasingly vulnerable to losing our information. Together we must find a way to stop the bleeding”, he told conference participants.
“State-sponsored hackers are patient and calculating. They have the time, the money, and the resources to burrow in, and to wait. They may come and go, conducting reconnaissance and exfiltrating bits of seemingly innocuous information – information that in the aggregate may be of high value”, he said.
The FBI has expertise to address these and other cyber threats, Mueller stressed. “Given the FBI’s dual role in law enforcement and national security, we are uniquely positioned to collect the intelligence we need to take down criminal networks, prosecute those responsible, and protect our national security”, he said.
“But we can’t do it alone, and our legal attaché offices around the world, FBI agents embedded in various international police departments, participation on a national cyber task force, and our regional computer forensics crime labs are examples of how we are collaborating with our partner agencies”, he added.
Mueller highlighted the FBI’s InfraGard cyber information-sharing program as a partnership with the private sector. He said that through public-private cooperation, “we can improve cybersecurity and lower costs—with systems designed to catch threat actors rather than to withstand them.”