The FBI is strengthening its global efforts against cybercrime by deploying additional agents to U.S. embassies, focusing on cyber-related criminal activities. Six new cyber assistant legal attachés (ALATs) will be added, representing a nearly 40% increase in the FBI’s cyber-focused agents deployed abroad. The new postings include locations in New Delhi, Rome, and Brasilia, bringing the total number of cyber-focused FBI agents in U.S. embassies to 22. This expansion aims to address the challenges posed by cybercriminal operations that involve victims and perpetrators dispersed across the world, making coordination and evidence collection essential.
Cyber assistant legal attachés are part of the larger legal attaché program, allowing law enforcement and intelligence agencies to collaborate with their foreign counterparts. The FBI began deploying cyber-focused agents to U.S. embassies in 2011, and this recent expansion is part of a broader shift toward a proactive approach to combat cybercrime operations and infrastructure. The move reflects the evolving nature of cyber threats, requiring a more proactive stance to disrupt criminal groups rather than investigating after the fact. The FBI’s increased focus on international cybercrime is seen as crucial for effective collaboration and coordinated actions with global partners.
The FBI’s cyber-focused attachés played a significant role in recent international cybercrime operations, such as disrupting the Genesis Market, a marketplace selling access credentials for online services. This operation involved 17 countries, resulted in numerous arrests, and required coordinated efforts across multiple time zones.
The FBI’s proactive approach is emphasized in the context of disrupting ransomware operations targeting cross-border critical infrastructure. Continued collaboration and trust-building with international partners are deemed essential for the success of these efforts, recognizing that the FBI alone cannot address the complexities of global cyber threats without the support of its global counterparts.