Former FBI Cybersecurity Official Steven Chabinsky Thinks FBI is Doing Great Job, But Government Could Do Better

The FBI’s former top attorney for cybersecurity, Steven Chabinsky, who stepped down this month, thinks the FBI is doing a great job battling the problem, but told the Washington Post that the “federal government” has taken a “failed approach” by focusing on reducing vulnerabilities rather than actively deterring attackers., in summing up the Washington Post article, mistakenly wrote that Chabinsky criticized the FBI’s efforts, when in fact he was referring to the country’s overall defensive approach to cybersecurity, which he believes does not focus enough on identifying and deterring the adversary.

The article also mistakenly said that the “bureau focuses too heavily on setting security standards,” when in fact the Washington Post story reported that the security standards have been a goal of Congress and the Obama administration, not the FBI.

In an email to, Chabinsky said of the bureau’s cybersecurity efforts: “They’re doing a great job.”  He added, “The next step is to determine how the private sector can play a more active role in defending themselves against hackers, with the assistance of law enforcement.  If cybersecurity remains a game of constant defense, it will not end well for the good guys.”

Here’s the Post story:

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post

The federal government has taken a “failed approach” to cybersecurity, with efforts that focus on reducing vulnerabilities rather than actively deterring attackers, according to one of the FBI’s top former cyber officials.

Steven Chabinsky, a 17-year bureau veteran who stepped down this month as the FBI’s top cyber lawyer, argued that the movement to set security standards for companies — which has been a goal for the Obama administration and the focus of congressional debate — is useful only “in the margins.”

More important is to enable companies whose computer networks are targeted by criminals and foreign intelligence services to detect who’s penetrating their systems and to take more aggressive action to defend themselves, Chabinsky said in his first interview since leaving office.

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