FBI's James Comey: Cybersecurity too big to tackle alone

FBI Director James Comey spoke to cybersecurity leaders in Boston last week. Image: FBI

Cyberattacks and other privacy and security threats are coming too fast and are too big and widespread for any one entity—including the FBI—to address alone. That's according to FBI Director James Comey, who spoke to a gathering of cybersecurity leaders in Boston last week.

Comey discussed the “stack of bad actors” committing cybercrimes, including nation-states, multinational cyber syndicates, insiders and hacktivists. Terrorists, he said “have not yet turned to using the internet as a tool of destruction … in a way that logic tells us certainly will come in the future.”

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From healthcare exchanges to electronic health records, healthcare is a treasure trove of financial and personal data. It's a high-value target that's a favorite of cybercriminals.

In fact, experts have warned of more sophisticated data breaches in 2017, and have said criminal interest will expand to other sectors—such as hospitals’ distributed networks—that are harder to secure than centralized systems.

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Payers are also a high-value target. As data breach incidents have steadily increased over the years, cybersecurity has become a top priority for insurance execs, who are placing more emphasis on incident response and hiring cybersecurity specialists, according to a recent Moody’s survey.

The public and private sector can help deter cybercriminals by reducing vulnerabilities, reducing the threat by holding accountable those who are responsible and mitigating the damage, Comey said at the event, which was co-sponsored by Boston College’s Cybersecurity Policy and Governance master’s degree program.