FinCEN Stresses Importance of Cyberdata in SARs
With recent legislation calling for increased cooperation between companies and government agencies to combat potential cyberthreats, officials are asking financial institutions to include information such as IP and bitcoin wallet addresses in suspicious activity reports (SARs). In a recent address to a joint meeting of financial sector professional and government regulators, FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery called for financial services providers to “leverage their internal information technology resources to include cyber-derived information … in suspicious activity reports.” Calvery emphasized the inclusion of IP addresses—information included in less than 2 percent of SARs filed, she said. “This information is incredibly important to the FinCEN analysts and law enforcement investigators working to combat cyber-crimes,” she noted.
In emphasizing the effectiveness of information sharing between the private and official sectors in general, Calvery cited a case in which SARs filed by several different financial institutions played a “vital role” in aiding the investigation into a regional Florida bank that had nearly $7 million fraudulently wired out of one of its accounts. The cybercriminals behind that attack—who were based in Russia and the Ukraine—were subsequently found to be responsible for more than $100 million in cyberattack losses in the U.S. alone, she said.
In December, President Obama signed The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a law that encourages private companies to share information about cyberthreats with each other and the government by offering incentives, including antitrust and legal protections, to firms that do so. The bill was championed by payments providers and merchants, who said CISA provided the legal protections necessary to share information and safeguard against threats. But many privacy and civil liberties groups opposed the bill on the grounds that it would enable the government to gather too much personal information.