FBI, Secret Service agents flock to St. Louis to address cybersecurity threats


ST. LOUIS — The Secret Service, Homeland Security, and FBI gathered for a conference in downtown St. Louis to address some of the most pressing cybersecurity issues in the world.

Federal agents met with local cyber professionals Wednesday for the first day of the “State of Cyber 2021” conference, held at the Hyatt Regency.

“The State of Cyber 2021 is a great opportunity for the Secret Service to meet with corporations and security directors to talk about the trends and tactics we’re seeing imposed on the civilian population and also corporations themselves,” said Thomas Landry, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in St. Louis.

Landry said for fraudsters, the season of giving is the season of taking.

“Especially during the holidays, we see an uptick in holiday counterfeit passing,” he said. “As stores become more crowded, more individuals will slip counterfeit money in these transactions. Unfortunately, the businesses are the ones that lose out.”

Criminals flock to the St. Louis area due to our centralized location.

“They will come here, conduct credit card fraud, pass counterfeit currency, and then they will leave the city,” said Landry.

Jeff Dant, the global financial crimes lead for social media platform TikTok, the landscape for cyber threats changes every day.

“What we’re doing is taking significant strides to build out a very robust global security organization that covers all of those areas in a converged approach.” Said Dant.

On the heels of Cyber Monday, TikTok is encouraging its users to the hashtag “#BeCyberSmart.” From social engineering to email phishing or fake websites, cybercriminals continually shift and refine their techniques.

“What we want to do is make sure our users understand what’s out there that would be targeting them, not just on TikTok, but in their everyday world,” said Dant.

With a new cyber enemy popping up every day, it’s ever-important for consumers to remain vigilant.

“One of the biggest things you can do is pay attention to your financial records. Pay attention to your credit card statements, your bank statements,” said Landry.

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