(RoyalPatriot.com )- The Federal Bureau Investigation is facing a challenging problem, and they’re asking Congress for millions of dollars to help them tackle that problem.
On Wednesday, Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, told a panel in the Senate that his department would like to receive an increase of $40 million to its budget for cybersecurity. The request of additional money for the next fiscal year, Wray said, would in part combat the damaging and increasing ransomware attacks happening throughout the country.
In his testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Wray said:
“Our budget request, the enhancements we requested, include 155 positions and $40 million for cyber, and a huge part of that will be going very much to the ransomware campaign that we are working on.”
Currently, the FBI is investigating more than 100 variations of ransomware, Wray said. Each of those variations had “scores and scores of victims.”
The director said it’s a top priority to enhance the ability of the FBI to tackle ransomware attacks. He continued:
“Our $40 million enhancement request is an important step toward ensuring that we have the right people and tools in place to address the evolving threats by some very sophisticated cyber adversaries.”
In the last few months, there have been two very large and very public ransomware attacks in the United States.
The first was a major attack on Colonial Pipeline. That company provides 45% of the gas that the East Coast uses. The attack forced Colonial Pipeline to shut down its pipeline for one week, which in turn lead to massive fuel shortages — especially in the southeast U.S.
The company decided to pay almost $5 million to hackers who were responsible for the attack so that it could regain control of its operations and get it functioning quickly.
In early June, the FBI was able to recover roughly $2.3 million in bitcoin that was paid to the criminal group as part of the ransom.
The second attack happened on the largest beef supplier in the U.S., JBS USA. The ransomware attack threatened to disrupt food supply chains throughout the country.
JBS USA decided to pay $11 million to the hackers so they could regain control of their systems quickly as well.
During his testimony, Wray said he doesn’t recommend that companies pay the ransom, because it could encourage future attacks. Still, it’s hard to blame companies for doing everything they can to regain control of their business.
But, Wray testified on the topic:
“We encourage people when there is kidnappings of humans not to pay the ransom, but you want to have in effect the cyber equivalent of the FBI agent sitting there with the person talking to the hostage taker, because there are all kinds of things we can to help ensure a happy ending to the investigation if we are engaged early and transparently.”