FBI Director Christopher Wray compared the recent ransomware attacks to the challenge posed by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist strikes in the U.S.
“There are a lot of parallels, there’s a lot of importance, and a lot of focus by us on disruption and prevention,” Wray said. “There’s a shared responsibility, not just across government agencies but across the private sector and even the average American.”
Wray made his comments in an interview posted by The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
He noted his agency is investigating about 100 different types of ransomware and said many trace back to people in Russia.
Ransomware is a malicious computer code that locks up a victim network’s files that hackers use to demand payment for their release, the newspaper said.
Two recent ransomware attacks in the U.S. targeted the meat and oil-and-gas industries.
Wray said the recent ransomware attacks have put the focus on the toll cyberattacks have on Americans.
“Now realizing it can affect them when they’re buying gas at the pump or buying a hamburger — I think there’s a growing awareness now of just how much we’re all in this fight together,” he said.
“Those are just two,” he said.