Remarks as prepared for delivery
Thank you, U.S. Attorney [Deirdre] Daly, for that very kind introduction, for your outstanding service to the people of Connecticut and for your critical leadership on the important matters we have come together to discuss. I also want to recognize Senators [Richard] Blumenthal and [Chris] Murphy, who have been such outstanding, thoughtful allies on this issue and so many others. And I’d like to thank each of you for taking the time to participate in today’s symposium as we explore new ways to advance a vital set of shared objectives: thwarting cyberattacks, defending American innovation and protecting the American people. It’s a pleasure to be here with all of you and it’s a privilege to join so many talented colleagues, knowledgeable experts and dedicated private-sector partners from a broad range of industries.
Each of you was invited to participate today because, as major corporate leaders, you are on the front lines of this nation’s fight against cybercrime. Recent cyberattacks – affecting institutions from Sony to Anthem to the federal government itself – have demonstrated the scope and the scale of the challenge we face, as well as the urgency of forging effective solutions. As cybercriminals get more sophisticated, as their techniques evolve and as their networks cross borders, we need to work together more closely than ever.
Safeguarding our essential information networks and the personal and private data that they hold is one of my top priorities as Attorney General and the Department of Justice is using every tool at its disposal to work proactively, respond swiftly and adapt constantly to this threat. We are working with the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service to investigate and prosecute the most serious cyber intrusions. We are reaching out to industry leaders like you to discuss new innovations and opportunities. And we recently assigned a number of experienced cyber attorneys from the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section to focus specifically on increasing collaboration not only within the government, but also between private entities and law enforcement. Those partnerships are vital to helping potential targets of cyberattacks protect themselves against intrusions before they happen and to providing assistance and support when incidents do occur.
This state witnessed the power of public-private partnerships four years ago when the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in Connecticut responded to a referral from a private company that hundreds of its computers had been compromised by what was ultimately discovered to be malicious software intended to form the Coreflood botnet. As a result of that company’s early disclosure – and with the help of experts from their ranks and additional network security companies – we were able to free the computers from criminal control, stop the criminal activity, protect important systems and clean over 95 percent of the computers that had been infected worldwide. The Coreflood operation has been a model for bringing the public and private sectors together to address cyber threats and it proved successful again last summer in taking down the infamous GameOver Zeus botnet.
Effective actions like these demonstrate why the federal government in general and the Department of Justice in particular, needs your help to ensure the security of America’s information networks. In order to be fully effective, we depend on you to tell us when you suspect a breach in your system. We rely on you to inform our investigations with in-house expertise. And we count on you to work with us collaboratively to identify and notify victims, minimize the impact of an intrusion and help prevent similar attacks in the future. Working together, we can keep one another informed when hackers move to exploit new areas of weakness. We can develop comprehensive strategies for confronting this threat and thwarting damaging crimes. We can help protect your assets and safeguard Americans. And we can ensure that wrongdoers are brought to justice.
I want you to know that I am personally committed to strengthening our nation’s cyber-defenses and cyber-preparedness and I intend to do everything I can to help you keep your companies, your customers and all Americans safe from exploitation, fraud and abuse. I urge you to let me know if there are resources or support that you need to keep your marketplaces secure and thriving. And I hope – and expect – that today’s conversation will continue long after this meeting has concluded.
I want to thank you again for joining us at today’s symposium and I look forward to all that we will achieve together in the days and months ahead.