Last week, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a joint announcement about the potential threat that foreign-backed online journals pose in spreading misinformation ahead of the crucial 2020 US presidential election.\u00a0 This alert, intended to raise public awareness based on government intelligence, reflects a new strategic direction by the FBI to work with partners across the federal landscape to better protect the American public and its allies from cyber threats.\u201cIt\u2019s a complex threat environment where our greatest concerns involve foreign actors using global infrastructure to compromise US networks,\u201d Tonya Ugoretz, deputy assistant director of the FBI\u2019s Cyber Division said during a conference at Auburn University\u2019s McCrary Institute organized to debut the Bureau\u2019s new strategy.Ugoretz said that among the many factors the FBI must now juggle in dealing with cyber threats are:The increased attack surfaces stemming from widespread work-at-home arrangements due to the COVID-19 crisisAttackers\u2019 growing willingness to exploit the increased vulnerabilities the wider attack surface make possibleThe increase in availability of tools that threat actors use to launch attacksGrowth in the number of both criminal and nation-state threat actors.Greater threat complexity requires greater cooperationAll these moving parts point \u201cto the need for a lot of cooperation here domestically and internationally to illuminate where cyber actors are trying to hide as well as the cooperation of owners and operators of critical infrastructure,\u201d Ugoretz said. The goal of the new strategy is for the FBI to serve as a central hub for all the government and foreign agencies as well as private sector partners. \u201cHow we can use all of those relationships not only to support them but to also make sure we are the indispensable partner\u2026to strengthen the overall fight against cyber threats,\u201d she said.\u201cNo one government agency will have a solution to the problem,\u201d according to Matt Gorham, assistant director of the FBI\u2019s Cyber Division and the official in charge of its investigations and operations. Gorham points to the welter of government agencies, departments and divisions that the new strategy embraces including CISA, major parts of the Defense Department and intelligence agencies that tackle cybersecurity issues.Its mission is \u201cto impose risk and consequence on our cyber adversaries through our unique authorities, robust capabilities and enduring partnerships,\u201d Gorham said. \u201cIf we do it in isolation [from other government agencies] we are not really imposing the maximum risk and consequence on our cyber adversaries.\u201dNew strategy doubles down on what the FBI already doesThe new strategic direction by the FBI to operate as a central locus within the federal government isn\u2019t completely new. It represents a change more of degree than function. \u201cVery much of what we\u2019re doing today with this new strategy is what we\u2019re already doing. What we\u2019re trying to do [now] is double down on that strategy,\u201d Gorham said.\u201cIt may entail cyber operations with our intelligence community partners and with our DoD partners. It may take the form of releasing indicators of compromise. Doing all those things to have the maximum impact on our adversaries and dissuade them [and] make it cost more\u201d for them to launch attacks.Gorham held up the Secret Service as the FBI\u2019s \u201cgreatest partner in the cybercriminal space.\u201d Saying that the two government cybersecurity arms will conduct coordination behind the scenes to take care of cyberattack victims, Gorham stressed just how close the two groups are. \u201cIf you call the Secret Service, it\u2019s like calling the FBI. If you call the FBI, it\u2019s like calling the Secret Service.\u201dWhat is new is an FBI pledge to victims of cyber malfeasance. \u201cI think it\u2019s important for victims to know that they can trust us when they call us. That we are going to treat them like a victim and they have the rights that come with that status,\u201d Gorham said.The pledge states that:In pursuing our mission, we recognize that we will encounter unique and novel issues related to privacy and handling of sensitive data. We will always treat victims with dignity and respect, protecting their privacy and data and rigorously adhering to the US constitution, applicable laws, regulations and policies and the FBI\u2019s core values.National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force plays a key roleA prominent part of the FBI\u2019s new strategy is a bigger role for the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCI-JTF), a central operation located in Chantilly, Virginia, that the FBI has been heading since 2008. \u201cToday we have over 33 agencies and subcomponents of DoD that are stacked up and collocated here so that we can work together on a daily basis,\u201d Clyde Wallace, deputy assistant director at FBI\u2019s Cyber Division, said.The NCI-JTF will synchronize all the efforts of these agencies and subcomponents moving forward. \u201cWe transformed how the Bureau and the NCI-JTF interacted. We restructured the NCI-JTF into mission centers to drive against specific threats going forward,\u201d Wallace said. \u201cGoing forward, the NCIJTF is pulling together all of our domestic, our foreign partners, our capabilities, our authorities, our planning efforts from synchronized prioritization.\u201dThe bottom-line for all these changes is to help organizations defend their networks and thwart adversaries wherever possible. \u201cWe\u2019re looking to share [intelligence] as we learn it as quickly as possible to the extent we can to help network defenders with their defenses while we pursue attribution to disrupt the activity and hold the adversaries accountable,\u201d Ugoretz said.