Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Head of the FBI Has Some Really Weird Thoughts About the Internet

It's not easy to explain the Internet, much less cybercrime and Chinese hackers.
In fact, even the director of the FBI had some trouble with it during his first major TV interview on Sunday with 60 Minutes.

James Comey spoke with the show's Scott Pelley about the threat of ISIS and about the challenges that the Internet poses for America's law enforcement agencies, who are still struggling to catch up with criminals around the world. Perhaps trying to boil down intricate issues, Comey had some — well, strange — quotes. We rounded up five of the best.

1. "The Internet is the most dangerous parking lot imaginable."

Comey said he doesn't believe Americans understand the dangers posed by cybercriminals. He also tried to come up with an apt metaphor, but instead probably ended up making people scratch their heads even more.
"The Internet is the most dangerous parking lot imaginable," he told Pelley. "But if you were crossing a mall parking lot late at night, your entire sense of danger would be heightened. You would stand straight. You'd walk quickly. You'd know where you were going. You would look for light. Folks are wandering around that proverbial parking lot of the Internet all day long, without giving it a thought to whose attachments they're opening, what sites they're visiting. And that makes it easy for the bad guys."

2. Chinese hackers are like drunken burglars.

Comey said the United States takes "many, many, many" hits from Chinese hackers each day. So many, in fact, that it costs the U.S. economy "billions," he said, and almost every company has been victimized.
"There are those who've been hacked by the Chinese and those who don't know they've been hacked by the Chinese,"
"There are those who've been hacked by the Chinese and those who don't know they've been hacked by the Chinese," he said.
He continued with the attempt at metaphors.
"I liken [Chinese hackers] a bit to a drunk burglar. They're kicking in the front door, knocking over the vase, while they're walking out with your television set. They're just prolific. Their strategy seems to be: We'll just be everywhere all the time. And there's no way they can stop us."

Comey was very critical of the U.S. government's ability to protect its networks and face cybercriminals' threats around the world. He acknowledged that the governments' coordination against cybercriminals has improved since he left in 2005 (Comey served as U.S. Deputy Attorney General from 2003 to 2005). At that time, Comey recalled, government was like "a clump of 4-year-olds chasing the ball." Yet he added that there's still room to improve.
"We're about high school soccer now. We're spread out. We pass well. But the bad guys are moving at World Cup speed."

4. The threats from the cyber world look like "an evil layer cake."

Counting the number of incoming cyberattacks is impossible, Comey said, because they resemble an "an evil layer cake" with a lot of bad guys.
"At the top you have nation state actors, who are trying to break into our systems. Terrorists, organized cyber syndicates, very sophisticated, harvesting people's personal computers, down to hacktivists, down to criminals and pedophiles."

5. Cybercriminals wear pajamas and lounge in basements.

Comey referred to malicious hackers as people that sit in basements, perhaps in pajamas — which, at this point, is an old, worn cliché.
"Bonnie and Clyde could not do a thousand robberies in the same day, in all 50 states, from their pajamas, halfway around the world," he said.
"It's too easy to those criminals to think that I can sit in my basement halfway around the world and steal everything that matters to an American," he later added.
You can watch the full interview below:



Post a comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home