FBI: Data breaches ‘increasing substantially’

The rate of major data breaches in the United States is rapidly increasing, as hackers around the world become more sophisticated, a top FBI cyber official said Thursday.

James Trainor, acting assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, said the agency used to learn about a new, large-scale data breach every two or three weeks.

“Now, it is close to every two to three days,” Trainor said at an event hosted by Microsoft.

“Those types of events, whether they concern a national security threat actor or a criminal actor, are ones we see on a much more regular basis.”

Trainor also said the cybersecurity industry needs to “double or triple” its workforce in order to keep up with hacking threats.

The remarks shed light on the FBI’s approach to investigating cyber crimes as online threats proliferate against U.S. businesses and government agencies.

Trainor, who called cybersecurity a “top priority” for FBI Director James Comey, said the agency has personnel embedded in embassies and law enforcement entities around the world.

The FBI treats breached companies “like a victim, not like they did something wrong” and tries to establish relationships prior to a cyberattack, he said.

As an example, he called the FBI’s relationship with Sony a “tremendous partnership” before and after the company was attacked last year.

“There were a lot of lessons learned from that in a very, very positive way,” he said.