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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

JBS says it paid $11 million ransom after cyberattack

Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images

JBS USA on Thursday announced it had paid hackers "the equivalent of $11 million in ransom" to resolve a cyberattack that forced the meat company to shut down.

State of play: The payment was made in bitcoin, per the Wall Street Journal. The company said it made the decision to pay the ransom after consulting with "internal IT professionals and third-party cybersecurity experts."

Canada First Nation finds mass grave at another school site

A memorial around the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on June 4, honoring 215 Indigenous children found buried in an unmarked, mass grave at a one-time residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. Photo: David Kawai/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A First Nation in Canada said Wednesday "hundreds" of unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school have been discovered in the prairie province of Saskatchewan.

Of note: The Cowessess First Nation said in a statement the number of graves found are "the most significantly substantial to date in Canada" — suggesting it's more than the 215 remains of Indigenous children discovered at a former residential school site in Kamloops, British Columbia, last month.

Biden replaces FHFA director after Supreme Court ruling

Mark Calabria, then-director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in 2020. Photo: Astrid Riecken/ Pool/Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday replaced the regulator who oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, hours after a Supreme Court ruling enabled President Biden to oust the Trump appointee.

Why it matters: The removal of libertarian economist Mark Calabria as Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director "gives Biden more control" over the fate of Freddie and Fannie, "which play an outsize role in the housing market and are central to many homeowners' ability to afford homes," per the New York Times.

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