FBI’s top cyber cop admits that hackers are winning

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 15:49 EDT
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"Anonymous" activists participate in a protest in Paris, France on March 10, 2012. Photo: Flickr user jastrow75.
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is losing its battle with computer hackers, according to Shawn Henry, the agency’s top cyber cop.

Henry said during a press conference Wednesday morning that over the course of numerous investigations, the FBI has obtained the private data of corporations that were targeted by hackers, and that many business owners had no idea they’d been breached.

“They are shocked and, in many cases, they’ve been breached for many months, in some cases years, which means that an adversary had full visibility into everything occurring on that network, potentially,” he reportedly said.

His comments were first carried by The Wall Street Journal, which keyed in to the ongoing debate over new cybersecurity policies. Some in government believe that new regulations may be needed to help standardize better security procedures, while others, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, want the government to step in and actively support private networks’ security.

One such bill that falls along the lines of what the Chamber favors proposes a public-private partnership between corporate America and the National Security Agency. The proposed law would gut privacy measures and enable the nation’s largest spy apparatus to access private data on corporate networks, ostensibly to safeguard against outside threats.

Civil liberties advocates are concerned about this proposal, however, because it would put a military agency in a position to monitor private Internet traffic. The American Civil Liberties Union has recommended that lawmakers temper this approach by appointing a domestic, civilian agency to help bolster cyber security.

Ultimately for Henry, who is preparing to leave the FBI to work on cyber security matters in the private sector, the bottom line is that the Internet’s current status quo simply is not working for business anymore.

“…[You] never get ahead, never become more secure, never have a reasonable expectation of privacy or security,” he concluded.

The video below was published by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.

Photo: Flickr user jastrow75.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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