Digital Forensics Dispatch

Digital Forensics Blog
by Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

FBI Responds to Cybersecurity Incident Involving its own Child Sexual Exploitation Investigations

February 23, 2023

According to a recent article on The Register by Jessica Hardcastle, the FBI has confirmed that a cybersecurity incident recently took place which reportedly affected its computer systems used for investigating child sexual exploitation cases. The incident was first reported on by CNN and is said to have involved computers in the FBI’s New York field office.

In the article, Austin Berglas, a former FBI agent from the Crimes Against Children unit in New York, stated that the infected devices were likely limited to the forensic analysis network. This would mean that it was unlikely that classified information was accessed as forensic analysis would almost certainly take place on separate air gapped machines. Berglas suggested that an evidence device containing the malware may have infected the FBI forensic computer after evading scans before being uploaded to analysis systems. The FBI is continuing to investigate the matter and has not provided any further comment on the issue.

This is not the first time the FBI has faced a public security issue. In November 2021, the agency dealt with an email scam that sent thousands of fake messages from its poorly configured servers to victims warning them that they had been the victim of a sophisticated chain attack, where crooks had stolen “several of your virtualized clusters.” According to Berglas, “it’s just the nature of the business and the Wild West of the internet.”

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