The federal government is trying to work out the requirements for cyber security pros and hire thousands of them from a shallow pool of talent. The Department of Homeland Security in particular is fighting a lot of red tape in that area as it spends millions to address insider threats, botnets and malware.
Meanwhile, a report from the Justice Department's inspector general found that about a third of FBI agents lack the skills in networking and counterintelligence to investigate national security intrusions. The story at Nextgov.com notes that the report was based on interviews with 36 agents in 10 offices, a number that seems far too low to make sweeping generalizations about the agency's agents, but the report does anyway. In addition, field offices lack the requisite forensic and analytical capabilities, according to the report.
According to FBI officials, agents assigned to national security cyber intrusion matters need to have more advanced technical capabilities than agents investigating other cyber matters, such as online child pornography and intellectual property rights. Because national security intrusion cases are highly technical and require a specific skill set, new cyber agents are often not equipped to assume responsibility of a national security intrusion investigation.
It also criticizes the agency's practice of rotating agents among different offices to give them different experiences, reports an Associated Press story in The Boston Globe. It says the FBI has 12 core courses that agents must take along with on-the-job training, but according to the report, agents said they don't have time to take them.
Government computer networks are attacked or probed on average 1.8 billion times a month, according to the Senate sergeant at arms.
Private-sector security pros are feeling overwhelmed with threats as well, with the majority also seeking additional training.