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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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RE: The U.S. is so FUBAR it's pretty much hopeless
By Taft12 on 4/28/2011 2:53:32 PM , Rating: 3
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 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
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.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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