This week, FBI director Christopher Wray discussed the FBI’s 2023 fiscal budget in a prepared testimony before a congressional committee. The FBI is requesting an additional $106 million to address a wide range of cyber security issues. Wray stated the increased budgets would be used for increasing cyber information sharing, protecting against threats from foreign intelligence services, international and domestic terrorism, and IT upgrades needed to process an increasing amount of data generated as part of the FBI‘s investigative work. Director Wray also addressed ransomware and how it has become one of the biggest threats to organizations within the United States. Ransomware continues to affect all industries including local governments, schools, hospitals, and critical infrastructure. Director Wray noted that the increased budget is required as the network supporting ransomware groups grows and becomes more efficient. The FBI would use more than half of the $100M requested to add more cyber positions, looking to add 38 special agents, 15 intelligence analysts, and 84 professional staff to enhance cyber their overall cyber capability.
It is no surprise the FBI is looking to enhance their cyber capabilities and budget by adding personnel. Cyber-attacks are becoming more and more prevalent and effective. The most valuable resources to counter cyber threats are skilled employees – that is true for private sector businesses as well as government organizations. Additionally, with the war in Ukraine causing more and more cyber-attacks between Russia and Ukraine, experts fear more advanced malicious tools will become available to threat actors as a result of the conflict. The FBI was criticized earlier in the week by members of the Senate suggestion that their ability to help ransomware victims is ineffective. This is partially due to the lack of legislation requiring or incentivizing organizations to report to the FBI. Several ransomware incidents are not even reported to law enforcement, making it impossible to aid the victims in any way. Cyber threats will continue to be a hot button issue for law enforcement agencies and legislative bodies as the criminal underworld.