Former FBI Cyber Chief Sees Threat Outlook Getting Worse
NEWS ANALYSIS: Leo Taddeo reports that cyber-criminals and hackers are getting more sophisticated and now have access to far better tools than before.Washington, D.C.—Hackers at all levels have new capabilities at their disposal, said Leo Taddeo, former special agent in charge of the Special Operations/Cyber Division of the FBI's New York Field Office. Taddeo is now the chief security officer at Cryptzone, which is entering the U.S. market after years of successful growth in Europe. "Unfortunately," he said, "there's no improvement in our ability to deter that capability." I interviewed Taddeo before his presentation at the International Spy Museum here. Taddeo, who is in the middle of a cyber-security seminar series sponsored by Cryptzone., said that there are a number of factors that make cyber-security more difficult now than it once was. "It's hard to deter China in anything they're doing," he said. But the problem goes far beyond just nation-states hacking for military and commercial intelligence. "At the low end are the script kiddies, the hobby hackers," he said. Those are people who break into networks for recreation, or perhaps bragging rights, but are now getting much better tools to help them do it. In the middle are the cyber-criminals who are hacking for money, and who are now getting their hands on information and software from nation-states, and are learning how to use it.
Complicating the task of keeping the hackers out of networks is the fact that they realize the risks are very low. While the penalties for getting caught can be severe, the fact is that despite the concerted efforts of law enforcement, most hackers are never caught. Because the risks are so low and the level of danger is so high, Taddeo said that it's critical for enterprises to make sure their defenses are up to the task.