FBI director Robert Mueller warned a gathering of Internet security specialists that the threat of cyber attacks rivals terrorism as a national security concern.
The only way to combat cyber assaults is for police, intelligence agencies and private companies to join forces, Mueller said during a presentation at an annual RSA Conference in San Francisco on Thursday.
“Technology is moving so rapidly that, from a security perspective, it is difficult to keep up,” Mueller said. “In the future, we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the number one threat to our country.”
It’s essential that private corporations and government agencies across the globe coordinate on cyber crime, Mueller said, in part because nefarious hackers are already forming alliances.
“We must work together to safeguard our property, to safeguard our ideas and safeguard our innovation,” Mueller said. “We must use our connectivity to stop those who seek to do us harm.”
Gone are the “good old days” of teenage boys hacking into websites for fun, Muller said. Today’s hackers are savvy and often work in groups, like traditional crime families.
Private sector computer security researchers have attributed waves of cyber assaults to nations out to steal government or business secrets.
“Once isolated hackers have joined forces to form criminal syndicates,” Mueller said.
Those “syndicates” often operate across borders, posing a particular problem for government agencies that are constrained by conflicting justice systems and a lack of coordination with foreign agencies, he said.
“Borders and boundaries pose no obstacles to hackers, but they continue to pose obstacles for global law enforcement,” he said.
In a presentation that a subsequent speaker said “really scared the bejeezus out of us,” Mueller emphasized an overlap between the violent terrorism the FBI has focused on since September 11 and today’s world of cyber crime.
Terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab in Somalia are “increasingly cyber savvy,” he said.
Mueller referenced Al-Qaeda’s English-language online magazine and Al-Shabaab’s Twitter account, which he says the group uses to recruit and encourage terrorism.
“They are using the Internet to grow their business and to connect with like-minded individuals,” he said.
Mueller warned that no company is immune from cyber attack.
He argued that it’s in the best interest of private companies to share information about online assaults with government agencies fighting the hackers.
The nation’s top cop promised that the FBI would “minimize disruption” and protect the privacy of corporations as it investigated cyber threats.
Companies are often reluctant to report network security breaches out of fear that the publicity could tarnish images in the eyes of customers or erode shareholder confidence.
“Maintaining a code of silence will not serve us in the long run,” Mueller said. “For it is no longer a question of ‘if’ but when and how often.”
“We are losing money, we are losing data, we are losing ideas,” he added. “Together we must find a way to stop the bleeding.”
Rosh Hashanah services interrupted by death of the first Jewish woman on the Supreme Court
The death of the first Jewish woman on the U.S. Supreme Court interrupted Rosh Hashanah services on Friday evening.
"On Friday, Jewish people around the country celebrating Rosh Hashanah were stunned to learn that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a prominent member of their own tribe, had died," the HuffPost reported. "People received alerts, Zoom messages and announcements from their rabbis about Ginsburg Friday night."
While many people were saddened by the passing of the iconic jurist, Twitter user Leora Horwitz noted a silver lining.
‘Big mistake’: Trump’s favorite pollster tells Fox News why Republicans shouldn’t push nomination before the election
Fox News on Friday examined why it would be a "big mistake" for Republicans to attempt to force through a nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
Following Ginsburg's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed that Trump's nominee would receive a vote, but did not specify whether it would occur before the election or during the "lame duck" session of Congress that occurs before the 2020 election victors are sworn in.
But conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen warned Republicans it would be a bad idea during an appearance with Fox News personality Laura Ingraham.
LISTEN: Mourners sing ‘Amazing Grace’ outside the Supreme Court to celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Heartwarming videos were shared on social media on Friday night showing the spontaneous gathering at the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The large crowd, with many people wearing masks, sang the hymn "Amazing Grace."
Here are some of the videos of the scene:
A moving moments as dozens join in to sing “Amazing Grace” on the steps of the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/NGZyZi4YR4
— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) September 19, 2020