An FBI official said Wednesday that the volume of cyber threats the country faces has increased dramatically over the past decade — so much so that the agency is reaching out to bankers for their input and help.

Earlier this year, the agency reached out to executives from 40 different banks to give them classified briefings on financial services, cyber threats, said Richard A. McFeely, an FBI executive assistant director, during Congressional testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Since 2002, the number of such cases the agency has investigated has risen 84 percent. That same year, the FBI created its Cyber Division to focus exclusively on digital spies, terrorists and other virtual enemies.

"It is difficult to overstate the potential impact these threats pose to our economy, our national security, and the critical infrastructure upon which our country relies," McFeely said. "The bottom line is we are losing data, money, ideas, and innovation to a wide range of cyber adversaries and much more is at stake."

He added that the FBI is collaborating with banks and others in order to solve cyber crimes.

"In the past, industry has provided us information about attacks that have occurred, and we have investigated the attacks, but we have not always provided information back," said McFeely, adding that that is starting to change.

"We realize the flow of information must go both ways. As part of our enhanced private sector outreach, we have begun to provide industry partners with classified threat briefings and other information and tools to help them repel intruders."

He said the FBI is developing a new, digital platform (iGuardian) that will allow companies to report cyber attacks as they happen.