FBI ON CYBER THREATS: “NO MON…NO SAFE?”

‘White hats don’t want to work for us’ moans understaffed FBI

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is struggling to hire computer scientists, according to a Department of Justice audit of the feeb’s attempts to implement its Next Generation Cyber Initiative.

A 34-page audit report (AUDIT OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION’S IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS NEXT GENERATION CYBER INITIATIVE) from the DoJ notes that, while making considerable progress, the FBI has “encountered challenges in attracting external participants to its established Cyber Task Forces”.

Noting that the FBI has not fully met its goals for the initiative, the DoJ report’s foremost complaint is that the feeb’s international public-private alliance – known as the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) – does not have a process to measure the timeliness of information sharing among members.

The NCIJTF recently made headlines when, alongside its international colleagues, it took down the cybercrime forum Darkode. For a few days, anyway.

The audit also bemoaned how hiring and retaining qualified white hats remained a challenge for the FBI, especially when competing private-sector entities pay more and have less invasive recruitment processes.

The FBI reportedly did not hire 52 of the 134 computer scientists for which it was authorised, meaning 38 per cent of the workforce it requires (as per budget) is simply not there.

This additionally means that five of the FBI’s 56 field offices do not have even a single computer scientist assigned to their Cyber Task Force.

Back in 2011, the Office of the Inspector General gave the FBI a thorough scolding over its inability to address America’s cyber-intrusion threat, for which it has become the responsible national body. The Next Generation Cyber Initiative was launched in response, essentially as a platform for funding increases in the face of a swelling number of data breaches and cyber-attacks in recent years.
This is not the first mention of the FBI’s difficulties in recruiting infosec professionals. Last year, the feeb’s director James Comey said the company was re-examining its drugs policy as too many applicants seemed to be enjoying a doobie en route to interview. ®

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