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Director Mueller Encourages Cyber Professionals to Report Issues

Director Mueller to Cyber Professionals:
Report Your Hacks!


Director Mueller at 2005 InfraGard conference

One in five. That’s how many businesses, universities, and government agencies said they reported their computer intrusions to law enforcement in the 2005 cyber survey conducted by the Computer Security Institute and the FBI.

On Tuesday, Director Mueller talked about it in a speech at the annual national conference of InfraGard, a nearly decade-old partnership between the Bureau and the private sector.

“We know that [businesses] have practical concerns about reporting breaches of security,” Mueller said. “But we must find a way to stop these attacks. Maintaining a code of silence will not benefit you or your company in the long run.”

He offered some sobering ways hackers have wreaked havoc on critical infrastructure:

  • In Australia, a hacker accessed an online sewage control system and released 250 million tons of raw sewage onto the grounds of a public space.
  • In Russia, hackers took control of a gas pipeline through an electronic control system.
  • In Ohio, a computer virus infected computers in a nuclear power plant, disrupting safety systems for five hours.
At the same time, Mueller thanked the 11,225 members of the InfraGard network and strongly praised their efforts, calling the program “one of our most important links to the private sector.”

“From our perspective, [you give us] 11, 000 contacts…and 11,000 partners in our mission to protect America,” Mueller said. “We recognize that in certain areas we lack the expertise you possess. That is why we need your help.”

What kinds of help have InfraGard members given to the FBI and its partners? The Director cited just a few examples:

  • In Colorado, an InfraGard member notified us that computer software templates used by U.S. energy companies had been stolen.
  • In Phoenix, our investigators turned to InfraGard members for information about a high-tech issue while working on a highly sensitive counterterrorism case.
  • In San Francisco, InfraGard members briefed our agents and analysts on risks associated with power grids, air traffic control, and chemical and nuclear facilities.
  • While shopping, another InfraGard member noticed individuals buying items that could be used to make a bomb. He took down the license plate number of their car and called authorities, who later told him his hunch was right.
“Success stories like these reinforce the need for vigilance and cooperation,” Mueller said. “Working side-by-side is not just the best option, it is the only option.”

Director’s Speech | Related story on InfraGard