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FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on June 10, 2021. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Cyber threats are increasing at a rapid pace, FBI director Christopher Wray warned on Thursday.

Why it matters: Multiple federal agencies and U.S. businesses — including meat producers and oil pipelines — have been breached this year, raising alarm for the nation's cybersecurity.

What he's saying: "We think the cyber threat is increasing almost exponentially," Wray said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. "Ransomware alone, the total volume of amounts paid in ransomware has tripled over the last year, we're investigating 100 different ransomware variants."

  • "We're obviously investigating scores and scores and scores of nation state intrusions and other kinds of cyber criminal attacks, so the scale of this is something that I don't think this country has ever really seen anything quite like it and it's going to get much worse."

Details: Wray discouraged companies from making ransomware payments, warning that victims of attacks don't always get back their data, even after paying.

  • Wray said the "most important part" in preventing ransomware attacks is to "communicate and coordinate with law enforcement right out of the gate.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has urged businesses to implement stronger measures to prevent ransomware attacks, and the Department of Justice announced this month that it will treat the attacks with similar protocols it uses for terrorism.

Go deeper: Sen. Warner calls on Congress to act on cyberattacks

Go deeper

Sep 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

What's changed in 20 years

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Andrea Nieto, Susana Gonzalez, Mario Tama/Getty Images

Two decades later, we don't have to look hard to find changes in our lives that happened because of 9/11, from air travel headaches to fear-driven politics that still disrupts many Americans' lives.

  • Here we've identified the biggest changes that had a lasting impact — or foreshadowed broader social dilemmas we're grappling with today, like the vulnerabilities of the internet and our attitudes toward privacy.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

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