Apr 20, 2022

FBI RAT Goes After Cyber Criminals

Did you know that the FBI has an Internet Crime Complaint Center called IC3?  And did you know that IC3 has a Recovery Asset Team called RAT that, in 2021 alone, used its Financial Fraud Kill Chain (FFKC) to successfully place money holds on approximately $329 million out of $443 million in potential losses from business email compromises, a 74% success rate?

That’s a pretty decent mouse trap.

Here’s how it works.  A victim of cyber-crime fills out an online form at  The complaint is automatically triaged through the FBI’s Internet Crime Database.  An IC3 analyst then reviews the complaint and, if certain criteria are met, transaction details are forwarded to the bank to notify of fraudulent activity and request freezing of the account.   Once the bank responds, IC3 contacts the appropriate FBI field office(s) for further investigation.

Internet crime goes far beyond email account compromise and includes investment fraud, real estate and rental schemes, confidence fraud and romance schemes, personal data breaches, tech support scams, cryptocurrency fraud, and ransomware.  In 2021, IC3 received 847,376 complaints, a 7% increase over 2020, with reported potential losses of over $6.9 billion.  There is every reason to believe these numbers will continue to rise in 2022.

Ransomware is a main focus of the FBI’s IC3.  In June of 2021, IC3 began tracking ransomware targeting critical infrastructure sectors such as communications, defense, emergency services, energy, food and agriculture, healthcare and public health, nuclear, transportation, and water.  A successful ransomware attack on just one of these critical infrastructure sectors could wreak havoc on everyday life and cause immeasurable damage and suffering.  Given Vladimir Putin’s ongoing war against Ukraine and the resulting increased threat of cyberattacks against the United States by Russia, and given that a crucial tip could come from anyone at any time, IC3 is an important weapon in the U.S. Government’s arsenal.

Other agencies besides the FBI that deal with cyber crime include the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Statistics included in this post may be found here:

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