The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers

Andrew Froehlich, Network Engineer & IT Consultant | 11/20/2012 | 12 comments

Andrew Froehlich
Hunting down hackers has reached a new level in 2012.

The appeal of easy money and the desire for hackers to make a name for themselves has simply become too strong. Things have gotten so bad that the FBI has decided to dramatically step up efforts and modify strategies. Now instead of reacting to hacks in a forensic "after the hack" method, the Feds are hoping to become far more aggressive in taking down hacker crime syndicates.

You might be surprised to know that up until recently, the FBI treated their cybercriminal task force like a typical 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. office job. It's almost as if they thought hackers were only allowed to operate during normal business hours. Just switching to a 24/7 operation should help to accelerate the hunting down and capture of hackers within the country.

It's well known that the FBI has been lacking sufficient resources to combat network attacks. Cybercrimes have finally become such a threat to national security that the decision has been made to open the purse strings within the FBI budget to expand this much-needed service.

Even more importantly than a 24/7 shift, the FBI is reaching out to companies in an effort to respond to active attacks far more rapidly. According to a recent The Next Web article:

The FBI is forming relationships with the technical leads at financial, business, transportation, and other critical infrastructures, plus it has hired specialists to work at its Cyber Division's Cyber Watch command.

The FBI Website reiterates that the focus of this new movement seems to be on speed of information gathering -- and improved sharing of that information between the FBI, DHS, and the NSA.

The new 24-hour shifts and the establishment of a Cyber Watch Command were long overdue. Even the most sophisticated companies in the world are stuck playing defense. For too long, hackers have known that the odds of actually getting caught by the authorities are slim to none. And while these new moves by the FBI likely won't strike fear into the hearts of most professional hackers, it's a step in the right direction.

If you're a CIO, you can't expect the FBI to catch each and every hacker out there, but every bit helps. If the threat of being caught is out there, the likelihood of the hacker thinking twice about their actions increase dramatically.

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Taimoor Zubair   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/29/2012 12:32:46 PM
Glad it happened.
The 24-7 model was certainly the need of the time. I am glad it will lead to a more cooperative handling of affairs . FBI should also strengthen its web and the hackers anywhere in the world need to be made accountable to a single organization. This will serve as a deterrant for dirty work of the hackers in developing countries where they can run their business and trod scot-free out of a situation.
Syerita Turner   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/27/2012 8:34:03 PM
Re: Round Up the Usual Suspects
This post definitely has some useful information. I am glad that they are beefing up security so to speak with hackers. Most hackers conduct their dirty work after hours so the new 24/7 model is best. 
singlemud   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/21/2012 9:34:28 PM
Re: hope it works out
It seems normal for me. Nobody want to work on graveyard unless good money, which is hard for the budget issue. The good thing here is the FBI is collaborating with private sector. Cybercrime is far more complicated and enomously work to be handled by any organization.
Susan Nunziata   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/21/2012 4:03:07 PM
Re: hope it works out
@stotheco: Seroiusly, knowing that until recently the FBI treated this portion of their operation as an 8am-5pm office job is shocking. Thankfully they're taking steps now to rectify things and the improved information sharing among public agencies is key. Here's where it gets a little squishy for me: The FBI is forming relationships with the technical leads at financial, business, transportation, and other critical infrastructures.

Lines need to be clear about what exactly these relationships will entail and what kind of information private sector copmanis will be expected to make available to the FBI as part of this initiative.

stotheco   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/21/2012 2:20:10 AM
Re: hope it works out
I expected the same thing as well, that they were already on a 24-hour watch against cybercrime (because as we all know, cybercrime never sleeps or ends, especially with hackers scattered all over the world in different time zones.)

Good for the FBI though that they are doing something about this. Their efforts are laudable, I just hope that it is successful.
Sara Peters   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/20/2012 3:59:35 PM
Re: hope it works out
@angelfuego  I'm surprised too! I guess I thought that the cybercrime division of the FBI was a 24/7 operation, just like police and firefighters. Maybe that was foolish of me,
Sara Peters   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/20/2012 3:57:39 PM
Re: hope it works out
@kicheko  "They may not want to wipe out cybercrime completely." I don't think they've got to worry about that.  :)  I'm pretty sure that cybercrime is here to stay.
Sara Peters   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/20/2012 3:54:23 PM
tough nut to crack
Well, this is good news: "the FBI is reaching out to companies in an effort to respond to active attacks far more rapidly," but the government has been trying hard for years now to encourage more public-private partnerships to address cybersecurity...and so far it hasn't really happened. I hope that the FBI will start having more success.
kicheko   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/20/2012 3:30:03 PM
Re: hope it works out
Andrew, - Its a great initiative that the law is finally taking cybercrime seriously and the private sector is treating it as an issue of common interest with the government. i've heard though that security or lack of it is itself an industry and so while the private sector(as in security vendors) may have the security interests at heard, they may still be looking to make a name individually and have long running business. They may not want to wipe out cybercrime completel.
angelfuego   The FBI Turns Up the Heat on Hackers   11/20/2012 11:16:30 AM
Re: hope it works out
Wow! I am surprised that it took so long for them to start the 24 Hour Cyber Watch Command. It was long overdue, but better late than never.
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