FBI Director James Comey on Friday reaffirmed his focus on fighting cyber-crime.
“Cyber touches everything,” Comey told reporters. “It’s going to dominate my tenure.”
Now eight months into the job, Comey acknowledged that “there is a huge amount” of cyber-related crimes taking place to which the bureau is responding in several ways. He said officials are “trying to lean forward,” with increased emphasis on training.
“The 17,000 police agencies across the United States have got to become digitally literate,” Comey said.
In an intriguing and extended metaphor, Comey likened the growth of cyber-crime to the explosion of bank robberies during the 1920s and 1930s. The careers of bank robbers like John Dillinger, Comey said, were made possible in part by the “asphalt” that enable speedy car travel across borders. Now, he said, bad guys are traveling across borders virtually, and at far greater speeds.
The FBI’s current efforts include the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force as well as individual Cyber Task Forces located in each of the bureau’s 56 field offices. In 2012, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported receiving 289,874 consumer complaints with an adjusted dollar loss of $525 million, an 8.3 percent increase in reported losses since 2011.