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And since the team's inception, the Bureau has investigated hundreds of cyber crimes, and a number of those cases were deemed of such significance that the rapid response and specialized skills of the Cyber Action Team were required. Members of the team make an initial assessment, and then call in additional experts as needed.

Using cutting-edge tools, the team look’s for a hacker’s signature.

The inability to access the important data these kinds of organizations keep can be catastrophic in terms of the loss of sensitive or proprietary information, the disruption to regular operations, financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and the potential harm to an organization’s reputation.

Home computers are just as susceptible to ransomware and the loss of access to personal and often irreplaceable items— including family photos, videos, and other data—can be devastating for individuals as well.

Information is analyzed and disseminated for investigative and intelligence purposes to law enforcement and for public awareness.

And in newer instances of ransomware, some cyber criminals aren’t using e-mails at all—they can bypass the need for an individual to click on a link by seeding legitimate websites with malicious code, taking advantage of unpatched software on end-user computers.

American companies are targeted for trade secrets and other sensitive corporate data, and universities for their cutting-edge research and development.

Citizens are targeted by fraudsters and identity thieves, and children are targeted by online predators.

Today, these computer intrusion cases—counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal—are the paramount priorities of our cyber program because of their potential relationship to national security. In recent years, we’ve built a whole new set of technological and investigative capabilities and partnerships—so we’re as comfortable chasing outlaws in cyberspace as we are down back alleys and across continents.

That includes: Hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, small businesses, large businesses—these are just some of the entities impacted by ransomware, an insidious type of malware that encrypts, or locks, valuable digital files and demands a ransom to release them.

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