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The FBI and fellow agencies not only have proved helpless against Russian and Chinese cyberattacks in recent months, but they've also mistakenly raided the homes of innocent citizens and brutalized them in due to sloppy detective work in cybercriminal investigations.  (Source: No Lies Radio)

A recent government report found one in three FBI cyber-security agents is incompetent. It also found that the agency's leadership was guilty of mismanaging the cybersecurity program.  (Source: FBI)
Apparently lack of staffing isn't the only problem afflicting America's weak cyberdefenses

America's cyberdefenses are disturbingly weak according to numerous reports both from the government and the private sector.  Three out of four advisors to former President George W. Bush predicted that a major attack on a U.S. utility would occur within two years, depriving Americans of vital service.  Individuals in China and Russia are suspected of breaking into government systems on a regular basis and stealing information.

But the America's cybersecurity isn't so abysmal merely from underfunding.  According to a recent U.S. Department of Justice report [PDF], it is also suffering from internal incompetence and mismanagement.

The DOJ's inspector general's office performed an audit of cybersecurity staff at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations.  The audit examined 10 of the FBI's 56 field offices, which are designed to respond to cyberthreats.

Of the 36 agents examined, 23 proved basically competent, but 13 "lacked the networking and counterintelligence expertise to investigate national security intrusion cases."

The report complains that some of that incompetence isn't even the agents’ fault -- it’s the fault of the FBI leadership.  Currently the FBI rotates its field agents every three years between offices.  As a result, many agents find themselves with essentially zero expertise at their new, dramatically different cybersecurity position.

The report also complains that the FBI is doing a poor job sharing information with other intelligence agencies.  And it says that many of the field offices examined were "inadequate" in both an analytical and a forensic cybersecurity capacity.

Interestingly, the FBI convinced the DOJ to redact the number of agents that had completed its Cyber Development Plan course program.  The CDP consists of 12 core security sessions, similar to college courses.  The sessions are designed to strengthen agents' background in cybersecurity.  The program was first introduced in 2007.

Since 2009 the FBI has been trying to hire 3,000 new agents, with a heavy emphasis on individuals with IT experience.  The FBI was embarrassed in 2009 by its chief's admission that he almost responded to a phishing scam.

The FBI has had some high profile successes of late -- such as taking down the CoreFlood botnet-- but it also has struggled in dealing with more organized foreign cyberaggression.  The FBI and fellow agencies have also struggled in dealing with homeland cybercriminals, such as child predators.  They have raided several citizens’ homes and reportedly brutalized them, only to find that it had misidentified the suspect due to a lack of investigation.  



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By MrBlastman on 4/28/2011 2:39:02 PM , Rating: 5
How are they undemocratic? They prevent dimwits from robbing the public term after term. Guess what? We have a HISTORY of these fools staying in office for decades.

Forcing them into term limits promotes a healthy environment of ever-changing status quo. That can only benefit the public, rather than hurt it.


RE: The U.S. is so FUBAR it's pretty much hopeless
By Lerianis on 4/28/11, Rating: -1
By MrBlastman on 4/28/2011 2:53:17 PM , Rating: 5
Wrong.

It hardly takes doing something right to stay in office. It is amazing how many people go to the polls and just put a check mark next either the Democrat or Republican because that is their "party" while never once bothering to figure out what the candidate has done for them or plans on doing.

People say they care--but they really don't. It is like the typical American is playing russian roulette with our country and they don't even know it, nor care. On a typical day, the majority of incumbents running for office are overwhelmingly re-elected.

People say they wish things were better but they seldom do anything to actually enact it.

So again, how are term limits undemocratic? Term limits give us GREATER choice rather than less choice.

Do you really think most of the poeple in Congress are really looking out for you, the citizen?

I don't. I think most of them are looking out for themselves and their own special interests. When you allow them to stay in office for multiple numbers of terms, they become entrenched into Washington politics further allowing special interest groups to manipulate their way through the system and get things done--things that only benefit a small number and are typically disadvantageous to the majority.


RE: The U.S. is so FUBAR it's pretty much hopeless
By JediJeb on 4/28/2011 3:10:30 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
It hardly takes doing something right to stay in office. It is amazing how many people go to the polls and just put a check mark next either the Democrat or Republican because that is their "party" while never once bothering to figure out what the candidate has done for them or plans on doing.


What needs to be done is remove the party voting feature from all voting apparatus. Make people actually look for the candidate they want to vote for, maybe even make the order the names of each candidate appear for each office random, dem first on the first office, repub first on the next office ballot, then libertarian first on the next, ect. That way all parties get prominent exposure and voters have to actually use their heads to elect officials into office.

I agree with George Washington on political parties, there should never be any. Actually there were not political parties until he left office, I guess it all went down hill from there.


By morphologia on 4/28/2011 3:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, political parties are a major weakness of American politics...without them, something useful might get done, and millions of voter and sponsor contributions would not have paid for "birther" advertising.


RE: The U.S. is so FUBAR it's pretty much hopeless
By TSS on 4/28/2011 3:48:33 PM , Rating: 3
It's not party politics, it's corperate interests in politics. Individuals are corrupted as easaly as an party, only with a party it's cheaper to hold control.

Illigalize campain and personal donations for ANYBODY running for any office in the government. Give every candidate running for the important offices a set budget for their campaign, divided by the number of candidates, and they aren't allowed to recieve or spend any more then that amount of money, or their candacy is forfeit.

Give them all the same airtime, the same amount of attention. Make as much things as equal as possible, so the politicans get voted in on the merits of their ideas, rather then the depth of their pockets.


By Adonlude on 4/29/2011 1:18:09 PM , Rating: 3
It all comes down to term limits. POLITICS SHOULD NOT BE A CAREER. 4 years max and you are out, back to being a normal citizen. No time for lobbyists to befriend you and convince you to do things for them. No reason for you to care about campaign contributions. No time to get to know everyone and become an elite. No need to pander to people or trade back scratches. You're only there for 4 years so may as well just make decission that are true to your heart and yours alone.


By YashBudini on 5/2/2011 9:16:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It's not party politics, it's corperate interests in politics.

And then the Supreme Court came along and decided (without ever being asked) that corporations are people too. See any political motivations with that move?

But as long as people stay within their own self imposed 2 party system one corporation or another will control them. That's the system today.


By B-Unit on 4/28/2011 3:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
I feel that term limits shouldn't just extend to the legislative body in question but to the individual.

For example, say we set a 2 term limit for the Senate and a 6 term limit for the House. (In both cases, 12 years) I feel the rules should also say if you have been in the House, thereafter you are limited to one term in the Senate IF YOU DIDNT REACH THE TERM LIMIT AS A CONGRESSMAN. And the other way as well to keep time in the Congress limited to 12 years.

The hope would be to take away the 'profession' of politician, make it so that its not a sustainable career. Problem being climbing the ladder from local to state to federal might still allow professional politicians. Sad.


By IcePickFreak on 4/28/2011 3:51:42 PM , Rating: 3
“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” -Winston Churchill


By Skywalker123 on 4/29/2011 7:22:45 PM , Rating: 3
That statement says more about Churchill than voters.


By YashBudini on 5/2/2011 9:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
PT Barnum essentially said and proved the exact same point.

"Three's Company" was on the air 7 years.

More recently we allowed a group of individuals to destroy a global economy with no justice done whatsoever. Hardly anyone even yelled.

Let us know if you need more proof.


By lowsidex2 on 4/28/2011 5:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's a crime. It's a conspiracy.

So many places are predominately one party or the other and that party always wins. And that party gets to choose who runs. Sure, you might have a primary challenger with a grass roots campaign who puts up a good fight. But then looses because he or she can't compete money wise. And we've seen serious competitors get bought out with appointments to administration jobs.

You think Harry Reid will ever have a serious primary challenge? Term limits will ensure people run for noble reasons and that they serve for the good of the people, not for the re-election war chest.


RE: The U.S. is so FUBAR it's pretty much hopeless
By Taft12 on 4/28/2011 2:53:32 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
We have a HISTORY of these fools staying in office for decades.


I understand your position but the REAL problem is voter apathy and ignorance. If THAT gets fixed, term limits won't be necessary.


By ebakke on 4/28/2011 3:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
Hit the nail smack on the head there. Except this is a case where I'll take the second best option, because, realistically we'll never be able to make any significant changes to people's interest in politics until they think they system isn't completely f'ed and rigged against them.


By morphologia on 4/28/2011 3:10:29 PM , Rating: 3
Voter ignorance is a problem, but the opposite of voter apathy tends to be fanatical partisanship, and that doesn't help things either. A narrow-minded partisan sheep will keep voting for the wrong person simply because of which party they represent. There's way too many voters like that...especially lately.

On topic though...I guess this bodes well for my current training curriculum of network maintenance security. Thriving job market, here I come. :D


By snakeInTheGrass on 4/28/2011 5:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
Changing the electoral system to allow a runoff would make a big change too, but despite all of the whining over 'the stolen election' in Florida, both parties shut up quickly. True democracy isn't what our leaders want.

As for 1/3 of agents being incompetent, I would have thought it would be higher. How many really good techies are looking for jobs to go violate other Americans privacy / spy on them? You need a court order to intercept mail? Well, how about we just tap your phone & email instead? I can't imagine how people working on those systems don't feel totally scummy.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 4/28/2011 6:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
It is the pay and the bullshit that keep many of the top IT people away from these jobs. While an FBI salary of 90-100k isn't all that bad, you can easily rake in 150k+ as a contractor or penetration tester for major security corporations. The other problem with FBI and any other government agency is all of the beaurocracy. Many people in the IT field have little patience for it since they are all technical people, not a bunch of ladder climbing politicians like many in the leadership positions in these agencies. Start firing these politicians masking as management and start sticking in knowledgeable and skilled employees that get results and things might change. Until then the private sector is still the #1 place to be for anyone with decent technical skills.


By MrBlastman on 4/28/2011 3:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely it is apathy and ignorance. The problem is--you can't make people care. They have to want to care (not just say it) and then take the time to do something about it.

Most don't--and won't.

So what you can do is force them to have a constantly changing pool of choices filled with unfamiliarity which ultimately (hopefully) will stimulate them to pay attention more.

Remember, America is not the vision of one man, nor is it the vision of a select few. America is the vision of the Republic for which we stand and that means decisions are made through established laws set by the people (not necessarily the pure majority)--but definitely not by one person who stays in power forever.

The idea of letting someone stay in office forever is akin to a Monarchy or Dictatorship and _that_ is not compatible at all with our nation being a Republic.


By Dr of crap on 4/28/2011 3:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong!
The people, including me, don't care about politicians.
They are nothing but lying, taking money for votes, not doing their job, and not caring about why they are in office.
Their adjenda is -
- to get elected and then stay in office as long as possible
- vote ALONG PART LINES - (totally stupid)
- ALWAYS BLAME the other party for everything

Name me one that doesn't fall into this pattern!

Nothing gets done becuase it's all finger pointing, and trying to not step on any toes so that you can get re-elected to do it all over again!

Our political system does not work anymore, and was made worse when anybody or business was allowed to buy votes.
We'll not get anywhere until you stop lobbying and install term limits!


By ClownPuncher on 4/28/2011 3:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
I have no idea how you would ever, ever fix that. I don't think anyone does.


By YashBudini on 5/2/2011 9:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, it's all long term conditioning, no other way is even conceivable anymore. That why Wall St got away scott free with what they did.


RE: The U.S. is so FUBAR it's pretty much hopeless
By Iaiken on 4/28/2011 3:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We have a HISTORY of these fools staying in office for decades.


The Soviet Politburo actually had a higher turnover rate than the US congress for practically it's entire existence.


By morphologia on 4/28/2011 3:19:40 PM , Rating: 2
That's if you count all the assassinations. :)


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