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Report Critical of FBI Cybercrime-Fighting Ability

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the I-fought-the-law-and-I-won dept.

Crime 56

coondoggie writes "Despite a push to bulk up its security expertise, the FBI in some case lacks the skills to properly investigate national security intrusions. That was one of the major conclusions found in the US Department of Justice inspector general audit of the FBI's ability to address national security cyberthreats today. The DOJ looked at 10 of the 56 FBI field offices and interviewed 36 agents. Of those interviewed, 13 'lacked the networking and counterintelligence expertise to investigate national security intrusion cases.'"

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56 comments

How much are they paying? (2)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960536)

And why would anyone take a job at the FBI if they can work in the private sector?

Re:How much are they paying? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35960564)

And why would anyone take a job at the FBI if they can work in the private sector?

I'm unemployed you insensitive clod!

Re:How much are they paying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35960808)

"I work for the FBI"

Re:How much are they paying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35961676)

Sounds like pedophiles would have a good chance collecting child porn, since it's 41% of what they investigate.

Re:How much are they paying? (1)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962582)

Isn't that like asking why would some highly educated folks join the military as officers when they can work in the private sector?

FBI is not Military. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35964708)

It's a fair question to ask why someone highly educated would join the military, but it's not the same thing unless the FBI offers the same benefits, GI Bill, etc.

Let's remember the FBI does not have the cool reputation, while the military still does. This is because the military is not running tanks through the streets of LA, but the FBI is fighting the war on drugs in LA.

FBI are considered civilians even if they are used as warriors. But yeah it is a fair question

Re:FBI is not Military. (1)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 2 years ago | (#35966148)

True, it is not. However those who work for the FBI as agents, and potential candidates, feel a sense of helping the greater good, in similar fashion a military service man/woman would. Hence, the argument of why take a job in the FBI instead of private sector, was saying that not just money is someones motivation.

Re:How much are they paying? (2)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962600)

The FBI actually pays pretty well. Most agents make $80k within 3 years if they do well and the upward limits can get over $130,000. The hours kind of suck (50 hours a week) but the retirement is insanely good.

Evidence please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35962682)

Most Cyber Crime agents make $80,000-130,000 doing what exactly?
And considering it is dangerous, what is the life expectancy? And finally what is the median income in the first year, sure they can make $80,000 within 3 years but if most don't last for 3 years because they quit, get fired ,or die, what difference would that make?

Otherwise if they get $80,000, it wont be hard to find recruits. They can go to any college in America and offer $80,000 a year and most people would take it. So I don't see why they can't find skilled agents in IT.

Re:Evidence please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35962896)

They can go to any college in America and offer $80,000 a year and most people would take it. So I don't see why they can't find skilled agents in IT.

college grad != skilled in IT

Our company has found that around 1 in 5 college comp. sci grads are actually competent.

Re:Evidence please (1)

Mn3m0nic (234085) | more than 2 years ago | (#35963616)

From fbijobs.gov: 12. How much are FBI Special Agents paid? Special Agent trainees at the FBI Academy are paid as GS-10, step 1 ($43,441) plus the Quantico, VA locality adjustment (17.50%) during their time at the FBI Academy. This equates to $51,043 on an annualized basis (or $1,963 per each two-week pay period). Newly assigned Special Agents are paid as GS-10, step 1 ($43,441) plus locality pay and availability pay. Locality pay (which ranges from 12.5% to 28.7% of base salary depending upon office assignment) is additional compensation to account for differences in the labor market between different areas. Availability pay is a 25% increase in adjusted salary (base salary + locality pay) for all Special Agents due to their requirement to average a 50-hour work week over the course of the year. Thus, with the locality and availability pay adjustments, new Special Agents in their first Field Offices earn between $61,100 and $69,900, depending upon the region of the country to which they are assigned. New Special Agents assigned to certain designated high-cost offices (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington D.C., Boston and Newark) may also be paid a one-time relocation bonus of approximately $22,000 to help offset higher real estate and living costs. In order to qualify for the relocation bonus, new Special Agents must be assigned to one of the designated high-cost offices and they must be moving from a lower cost area to a different geographical area with a higher cost of living. For example, a new Agent assigned to Washington, D.C. would make a base salary of $43,441 (GS-10, step 1 on the Law Enforcement Officers' salary table) + locality pay of $7,602 (based on Washington, D.C.'s locality adjustment of 17.5%) + availability pay of $12,761 (25% of base + locality) for a total salary of $63,804 their first year. If the new Special Agent qualified for the relocation bonus (e.g., moving from Atlanta to Washington, D.C.), they would also receive a one-time payment of approximately $22,000.

Re:How much are they paying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35964518)

I work in private sector and I would take 50hrs a week over what I work now, but I would never carry/touch a gun so I wouldn't work for the FBI

Re:How much are they paying? (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#35965596)

Really? Please do tell us about this curious phobia you have about firearms. It must be profound if it would prevent you from taking a career path that you admit is more attractive than the one you're on. I mean really. What is so scary about a firearm that you won't even touch one?

Re:How much are they paying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35962612)

Apparently "those who can, do; those who can't, teach" is no longer true. Those who can't are going to work for the FBI...

critical? (4, Insightful)

ysth (1368415) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960550)

So 23 had the networking and counterintelligence expertise to investigate national security intrusion cases. Sounds pretty darned good to me.

Re:critical? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960584)

You are right, this is a higher percentage than I have witnessed in any department of IT jobs I have had and it is probably a higher percentage than it would be in any IT consulting company employees.

Re:critical? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962990)

The story doesn't make any sense. Why would anyone survey field offices to check their ability to deal with and analyse computer issues.

It is a specialised field and you would assume any national policing agency would create a specialist task force and office to deal with those issues.

No different to the other forensic investigators, using rough and tumble field agents (active physical and high threat activity) is a dual sided waste, it means you can not use the less than physically fit but definitely mentally fit.

It sounds like the FBI need to learn about national based telecommuting and providing live audio visual links between agents in the field and specialist in the laboratory.

Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960674)

The Slashdot story misreports the data, as usual. The actual report says that 36% of the agents who were assigned to national security related cyber investigations self-reported that they did not have the necessary expertise for the job they were doing.

And those are the national-security related cases, which the FBI considers to be the most important category. It's probably worse at the regular computer-related crime level.

They're trying. The FBI actually runs agents through "A+" training, and "Linux for Law Enforcement". After 5 years as an FBI agent on the "cyber" side, agents should be able to configure a Linux kernel and have an in-depth knowledge of the Windows registry. Those agents also have to learn all the regular FBI agent skills.

The report points out that 41% of the FBI's "cyber" force is tied up investigating child pornography, while only 4% work on Internet fraud. That's why they're doing so badly on online crime.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960714)

Just because they take the A+ cert course doesn't mean they passed.
These are usually existing agents that are pressed into cyber duties and no one is going to dump an agent with years of experience because they we we over their head in a area that takes years to master.

They need to by hiring IT people first and make them into agents. Not the other way around.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35960804)

Especially since A+ is mostly hardware related.
I did the course, didn't sit the exam though, didn't see the point really.
I'm finding more and more with IT that it's ether "study to pass the test" or "study to learn what the course is trying to teach - and be useful in the real world"

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#35961480)

I took A+ for easy credits and ended up having to correct the instructor on several points. That's not to say I didn't learn anything, but I didn't learn anything I couldn't look up rapidly and I forgot most of it because nobody is configuring serial ports with fucking jumpers any more. That shit is over unless you're working on embedded systems for machining or whatnot, and due to the amazing backwards compatibility of the PC, in many cases you can actually install something vastly newer and still have it work anyway so that shit is STILL over.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960882)

The report points out that 41% of the FBI's "cyber" force is tied up investigating child pornography, while only 4% work on Internet fraud.

And the other [takes shoes off] 55% are doing what?

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

L-four (2071120) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962028)

Playing minesweeper. While they wait for their child pornography to finish downloading...

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962678)

Investigating slashdot posters. I guess the OP thought that would be obvious and therefore omitted the detail.

5 years to learn that? (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#35961470)

5 years to learn to reconfigure a linux kernel?! By reconfigure you mean compile? It shouldn't take more than a week to learn to compile a linux kernel if that.

Also wouldn't they need to focus more on forensics than compiling linux kernels?

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (0)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 2 years ago | (#35961768)

A poster below me said it right, you can't make agents into IT, you have to make IT into agents.

Their problem lies in their recruitment practices. They hire people that aren't from whatever world they are wanting to infiltrate or investigate. You can't take some green kid out of college and teach him to fit into an underground culture. The kid isn't going to have the instincts for it that comes with the territory. The problem is according to lofty recruitment standards that they have erected, they have handicapped themselves in the talent department. I blame this on puritanical thinking, which is faulty because we don't live in a puritanical world. Isolationism again comes home to roost.

You have to approach it from a guerrilla warfare type of mindset. First, assume you are clueless about what you are trying to investigate. Whatever information you have currently is probably pathetically wrong, due to the simple fact that all intelligence has a shelf life that makes ripe produce look infinite in contrast. You need to establish a "beachhead" into the situation that is secure in its foundation and facts, and build on that, branching out from there. Understanding the roles of everyone around you is vital to the administration, and frankly "everything" is in the administration of intelligence.

For example; If I was in command of an intelligence operation around IT that had any official capacity, I would be recruiting that "geohat" guy who's stirred up such an uproar. To me it's like he's crying out for that kind of recruitment for if he was really smart, he would have stayed off the radar. The need for recognition often is a flaw in the criminal mindset. This is fine and dandy, after cooling his heals in some shithole jail, he would surely come around to the "right way of thinking". After that, you get to pick his brain for priceless intelligence and get him flipped into a functioning agent. Of course you must martyr him so that the "community" remains intact in his honor. Don't disturb the herd, they are easier pickings that way. Some hate for "the man" will keep them cemented together mostly, a few will slip off, but you can do some serious damage in the mean time while the opportunity is there. It's most effective to use someone that built something to also destroy it, they will know how to do so the best.

It's a sick world out there. And if we want to keep the monsters at bay away from the soccer moms in the 3 bedroom 2 and 1/2 bath homes, then we need to employ our own monsters. Trust me, the deviant mind, the criminal mind, works on a level that isn't known to gentle souls. It isn't punching a clock, working 9 to 5, it's an animal that is always on the prowl. You don't keep the kid gloves on when deal with this. The gentle souls need to stfu and realize the realities of the world and let people do their jobs instead of tying their hands with idiot rules that get laughed at and danced around by criminals.

What is going to bite us on the ass real soon, if we really are lagging behind the rest of the world in IT related intelligence operations, is the fact that other nations sure as shit are conducting active intelligence programs in IT. It's the perfect environment for nations to do this, why? PERFECT PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY. There is no smoking gun to pin a diplomatic incident on. We all know it was probably a "haxor" that did it..right? Probably some curious kid looking around.

Sweet Jesus, did we have a handle on things before the IT component of the equation complicated the hell out of it? No, we didn't and to go all glassy eyed now is a recipe for disaster. Bottom line is this, start thinking of the talented criminals as assets to exploit, not lumps to rot away in jail. (unless they don't dance) High toned esthetically pleasing moral thinking will get you killed pronto in a backstreet knife fight. If you don't think we are always in a dirty fight behind the scenes, trying to keep the American Dream safe, you are retarded.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35962606)

For example; If I was in command of an intelligence operation around IT that had any official capacity, I would be recruiting that "geohat" guy who's stirred up such an uproar.

And if he rejects or says hell no? First how do you recruit people if you don't have anything to offer? Also he is a celebrity, so this would make him a target of all sorts of the wrong kind of people along with. If you were talking about someone like him who didn't have so much name recognition, it would make more sense I think. Also what sort of incentives do you offer to secure him as a recruit? If you are talking about hackers most of them don't have a very friendly relationship with the FBI historically.


To me it's like he's crying out for that kind of recruitment for if he was really smart, he would have stayed off the radar.

You are very right about this. Any hacker who makes the radar gets targeted by basically all the intelligence agencies in the world not just the FBI. If they have world class skill, then every cyber army in the world will want them nevermind the FBI.

So it is a question of what does the FBI have to offer recruits to make them say yes when the foreign governments have blackmail and extortion along with millions of dollars of underworld tax free cash?


  The need for recognition often is a flaw in the criminal mindset.

I don't think he was specifically seeking recognition. I think he took on Sony and that is what got him recognition. Most hackers who are really smart know who not to take on. They don't hack the government or big corporations so they never make the radar. Then you have Geohot and Adrian Lamo, who weren't like the old school hackers but they actually speak to the media. I think any recruit would not be someone who speaks to the media constantly.


  This is fine and dandy, after cooling his heals in some shithole jail, he would surely come around to the "right way of thinking". After that, you get to pick his brain for priceless intelligence and get him flipped into a functioning agent.

How likely is it that someone who is jailed and tortured in a shithole jail will suddenly decide to help the people who did that to him? That has to be the dumbest strategy. That strategy could and probably would push him into the mafia or some other anti FBI group. Just look at what happened to Jim Bell, they could have tried recruiting him but what is the chance of that working out? So while he might have the skill, and the criminal mind, it doesn't mean he will have the incentive and punishment or torture doesn't give people good incentive. Especially if we are talking about hackers on the level of Geohot, or Julian Assange, or Jim Bell, who believe in human rights.

Of course you must martyr him so that the "community" remains intact in his honor. Don't disturb the herd, they are easier pickings that way. Some hate for "the man" will keep them cemented together mostly, a few will slip off, but you can do some serious damage in the mean time while the opportunity is there. It's most effective to use someone that built something to also destroy it,

Some of this is true and some of it is naive thinking. Like I said, if you go with this strategy then yes you'll have people fighting each other but if it's like a war, with a military context, how exactly do you hold it all together? Don't you need an enemy? Who is the enemy? Geohot? This is another problem the FBI has, they declare war on practically anyone and everyone and honestly I don't know if they even believe in anything other than enforcing whatever the law says. So in that way it's not like the military which fights to protect the US Constitution, instead it's focused more on enforcing whatever the letter of the law says.

And if I'm wrong, well how would you braniwash the agents like how soldiers are? What ideals would the agent have, especially if you turn them into an agent by putting them in prison until they break.


What is going to bite us on the ass real soon, if we really are lagging behind the rest of the world in IT related intelligence operations, is the fact that other nations sure as shit are conducting active intelligence programs in IT. It's the perfect environment for nations to do this, why? PERFECT PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY. There is no smoking gun to pin a diplomatic incident on. We all know it was probably a "haxor" that did it..right? Probably some curious kid looking around.

This part is very true. So why would the FBI have any advantage at recruiting agents? Would the FBI even know what to do with them? Apparently from this information the FBI is focused on child pornography? Once again if it were fighting an actual war, terrorists, bad guys, I think it would be fairly easy to recruit agents from IT or any field for that matter, but if the focus is on child pornography then maybe they should look to perverted justice to find recruits. The point is what incentives or motivation other than "work with us or spend your life in prison" is the FBI offering? If it's a matter of money then pay more, if it's a matter of benefits then give better benefits, if it's a matter of training then train them, if it's a matter of getting talent from the community then they have to actually target different demographics with different incentives.

A human rights based hacker or IT professional is not going to be motivated in the same way as a corporate hacker or professional, and a blackhat wont be motivated in the same way either. The blackhat would care more about reputation and street cred, the human rights hacker would care about human rights, civil rights or political issues, and the corporate hacker would care about money and status. They have to organize the FBI so that it's not ridiculously puritan if they want a culture that can accept people who don't come from puritan backrounds. Why not create some new cyber divisions? What happened to all the talk about upcoming cyber war and all the hype about terrorism? What about counter intelligence? But child pornography? Intellectual property? These sorts of focuses are going to attract guys like Geohot? Imagine him working to protect Sony's intellectual property after being sued by them, sure it's possible but it to me seems to make more sense on paper than in practice unless you can show me evidence of this strategy working.

Most of what you say makes sense, but the FBI in my opinion will have to rebrand itself. It has a terrible history, almost as bad as the DEA. It might be logical to get hackers to lead investigations, that much is true, but how many people like that who are hackers or even people who just download music and smoke too much pot, do you believe would kindly about the FBI?
Whether it be the drug testing, or the culture in general, or just the fact that if someone is a hacker well then at least one of their friends (if not them) were arrested by the FBI.

So the challenge I think, the main challenge, is going to be creative recruiting, and cultural issues. I think an easy way to recruit would just be go to colleges like the military does and just target IT or Computer Science students. Offer them a job, and in this economy most of them would take it. After they make the news or get busted it's too late. After they form strong political views its more difficult, the military figured that out and thats why they target 18 year olds. And of course the incentives have to be better than the private sector. If they can just work in the private sector, make more money, probably be happier, why would they choose the FBI? Only if the FBI offers equal or more money, good retirement benefits, education benefits and most important of all social networking benefits, then I could see it working.

So it boils down to how much does the job pay, what are the risk (really?), what are the benefits. They should post it in advertisements all over so people know. I mean come on, I see advertisements for the CIA, advertisements for the military, advertisements for Google, Microsoft, but notice you see no advertisements for the FBI or Google unless it's ITT Tech or something after a law and order commercial? And if Adrian Lamo represents a recruit who exactly in the hacker community would want to be labeled a snitch? If Albert Gonzalez is a recruit of the Secret Service and hes sitting in prison labeled a snitch who exactly wants that? The job can pay as much as it wants, but if the hackers lose street cred, they lose everything.

And yeah if they are fighting to keep the American Dream safe, but the American Dream doesn't really exist and isn't safe so whatever they are doing apparently is killing the American Dream or failing completely. If the FBI wanted to market themselves that way it might be more helpful if it were true.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962850)

I think you've seen too many movies. People are motivated by money with VERY FEW exceptions. If the man wanted this guy, they could have probably picked him up pretty easily before it got into the news. Not to mention the fact that working for the US FBI comes with quite a bit of power. The second of the three major motivators for humans (religion being the third).

Sure, there's been 10 or 20 people in the last century who aren't motivated by money or power but I'm guessing geohat and Mother Theresa don't have a lot in common in that regard.

One more thing about your post that made me laugh. Geohat is not some human rights activist. He's a kid that wants to play free video games. Now, I don't have a problem with that myself, but to decide he's now a human rights activist because he got caught stealing games from sony? LOL.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#35964452)

One more thing about your post that made me laugh. Geohat is not some human rights activist. He's a kid that wants to play free video games. Now, I don't have a problem with that myself, but to decide he's now a human rights activist because he got caught stealing games from sony? LOL.

You haven't been paying much attention.

Geohot discovered a technique which could, potentially, be used by others to "steal video games" -- but there has been no credible allegation (and remember, Sony had a big discovery phase to try to prove their point to the contrary) that he himself was working to enable piracy.

As you might recall, the thing that incited Geohot to look at the PS3 was Other OS being disabled -- nothing related to stealing video games at all.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#35964892)

Geohot discovered a technique to pirate games and is trying to stay out of more trouble by saying "ohh that's just a side affect". Again, I don't have anything against piracy, but calling a club a spade isn't reality.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#35971406)

"A technique to pirate games", or "a technique to enable OtherOS"? The technique, in and of itself, does neither of those things -- what you call it, then, is a matter of your chosen spin.

That said -- if the "technique to pirate games" spin were more accurate, Sony would have been able to dig evidence to that effect in discovery; I doubt that they would have chosen to settle if they'd found evidence that would let them drag their opponent's name through the mud (and thereby turn around all the persecuting-the-white-hat bad press they'd been getting).

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

gregzeng (1872194) | more than 2 years ago | (#35972332)

You seem to not know what prison is. As an ex-army officer, then 'conscientious objector', I served 'six years hard labour' in Australia's prisons. Like a luxury hotel, with work leave, study leave, weekend home visits. Read other posts here. The military & para-military senior staffers have the 'PSYCHOLOGY TODAY' magazine personality of the right-wing archetype: politically correct 110%, deeply ingrained insecurity, fear off complexity, fear of wrong decisions, fear of risk-taking, and generally very childish xenophobia. In my recent disguised 'secret interview' with the Australian Secret Intelligence Organization (who have my complete academic, family & career records from birth to now ... they are badly trained (a very experienced, 50+ year old career spy interviewed me), lazy, and dumb. They live in an Anglo-Centic Christian ghetto, in Canberra, Australia, a few miles from me.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35971708)

The whole situation is fucked. I wanted to do this type of work for most of my life. I went through several phases starting with "True Crypt, tor, live cds to prevent forensics, use of disposable email addresses and proxys, etc." Then I thought to myself "Nobody can hire me if they don't know I exist." So I started doing stupid shit like emailing people from web cafes. Then I decided "If they haven't contacted me, they aren't interested, and if they aren't good enough to have found me then I don't want to work for them anyway."

My options were keep playing with fire and see the inside of a jail cell, or find a career where I didn't have to suck some Ivy League good old boy dick, get arrested, or join the military to get hired.

So I gave up and started from scratch. I'm studying engineering now. The problem solving skills I developed playing spy vs. spy have helped a lot. Engineering is a lot like security. Layers of individual problems. You find the solution, peel off a layer, and repeat until you get to the center. Sometimes you have to backpedal and try again from a different angle. Just trial and error knocking on the wall until it rings hollow. Then applying pressure. If you fail, research, maybe work on a another problem, and come back later.

Still, I kinda wish there was a way to find work in the pen testing industry without "putting your time in" as a sys admin. Funny enough, as an engineering student, I'm learning applicable stuff anyway. I can teach myself almost anything, but I needed a little bit of help to get started on programming. Learning curve is steep.

My point? Cry me a fucking river. Get your head out of your ass and change your hiring practices if you want talent.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962074)

Do they get sent to FLETC to do the cyber-training stuff or do they have their own training programs?

--Took the DEASTP class there 5 or 6 years ago, sooo easy.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

lasinge (1009929) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962824)

So this is based on self assessment? Ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect ? [wikimedia.org] It basically says that incompetent people tend to over-rate their own abilities and vice versa (particularly true for North Americans, it's not so pronouced in Europe and even less so in Asia.). This actually gives me hope that at least some of the agents are aware of the immensity of what they are up against. If they rated themselves as being 100% up to the task then I'd truly worry.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

Mn3m0nic (234085) | more than 2 years ago | (#35963672)

Also of note is that a vast majority of their actual subject matter experts that the agents actually get help from are actually contractors that are paid very well and know what they are doing. That is why people generally do not join a government agency directly. They go through a contracting company and make a lot more money. A lot of the contractors actually scratch their heads trying to figure out why the government does this. They would join those agencies directly if they paid anywhere close to what the contracts paid.

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35967766)

from the report : the priority are in order
1-cyber intrusions
2-child sexual exploitation
3-intellectual property rights
4-internet fraud

So the 4% is that work on internet fraud is in line with their priority. Now where can wee change that list of priority??

Re:Typical Slashdot editor incompetence (1)

gregzeng (1872194) | more than 2 years ago | (#35972380)

What is publicly released in not the full truth. There is also more to this than reactive work on crime. Not included is the commercial, exploration and pro-active ventures to commercial, government and non government agencies, internally & externally. Plus reward 'perks' for senior and retiring staff members. In Australia, a retired (elected politican) Minister responsible for our secret police was surprized to see one of his senior spies enjoying his forthcoming retirement, at extreme expense to the Australian government. Returning to Australia, he 'claims' to make his old government agency stop giving these expensive perks to senior & long term staff members. Personally, I do not see myself as an ally to Darth Vader. I have my personal ethics that belong to Planet Earth (b4, duuring & after my life), not to the monthly report of any agency. In my childhood I was very simply bribable. I'm not a child now.

Cognitive disonance (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960552)

So... on one side FBI don't have the skills to investigate intrusion, on the other side we should trust them enough to allow remote uninstalling [slashdot.org] the CoreBoot trojan, eh?

The FBI? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960628)

Funny, investigating external intrusions just feels like something I'd expect the CIA or NSA to be handling instead.

Re:The FBI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35960812)

In corporate fraud cases, or things like credit card fraud, domestic data theft, domestic terrorism, teenagers trying to take down an electric substation for kicks, etc... the FBI is the agency that would look into this.

The CIA and NSA are both only interested in foriegn intrusions, which are comparably VERY rare.

Of course, they're too busy chasing after guys downloading dirty pics. I would like to point out that downloading dirty pics gives a much longer sentence than trying to hack the power grid... for some reason...

I think our priorities are jacked...

Re:The FBI? (1)

gregzeng (1872194) | more than 2 years ago | (#35972302)

Government IT secret service work is not just reactive countering. My friends have participated in USA-intrusion of other nations' defences: military, commercial,government & non-government. Either for future uses, or current immediate targets.

Hmm (1)

Jyunga (2040832) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960640)

Now that the Chinese have caught up to us in 1s and 0s it's time to move on to the much safer YOLD (Yodeling Over Long Distance) model of data transfer.

Twenty Percent, huh? (1)

Zazi (601795) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960652)

So twenty percent (and not even that) indicates the FBI's competence at cyber crime? Right. TFA should come up with a more realistic conclusion.

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Some Feds - Paedophile Ring - Helpfulness (1)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 2 years ago | (#35960958)

Having worked with a few Special Agents to break an international paedophile ring a few years ago, I can say from experience, the F.B.I have very few agents well equipped and extremely clued up. I was lucky to get in touch with the right special agents, although I hit a complete brick wall beforehand with agents who's mission in life was "COFEE and donuts" excuse the cofee joke http://www.microsoft.com/industry/government/solutions/cofee/default.aspx [microsoft.com]

The same is of Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police, who have people in IT that are complete idiots. At the end of this investigation, I only got a thank you off one senior special agent and Scotland Yard just completely blanked me. The officers from the Metropolitan Police decided to take all the credit for my hard work.

If it was not for Special Agent Daniels, my faith in helping out as a hacker would have been eroded many years ago.

Network+??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35961102)

3-5 years is the expected time it takes for someone to be getting their Network+ Certification and SANS 401? You've got to be kidding me. That training plan ought to be way tougher than that otherwise they're going to have a tough time. All those BullShit+ courses should either be dropped or taught while the agent is still in training. Then, they need to get some sound fundamentals in programming, forensics, and intrusion detection. And, they need to be tested on that stuff or dropped from the program. And, since it is hard to find qualified people these agents ought to be rewarded with extra money but only if they are performing at a high level.

Perhaps they should take some hints from the agents who took down Coreflood also, it seems like they got it right. Oh, and fire all of the DHS ICE assholes.

Doomed from the start? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35961232)

I have to wonder if the FBI is not going to be doomed before they begin this mission....my logic goes like this:

The [insert foreign country who wants to hurt us] decides to launch an attack...whom do they recruit, anyone they want! Why? Well if this is not an outright illegal task, it is certainly questionable....so why not hire the least ethical, most experienced, most vicious cracker (not hacker) you can? Throw these guys in a dark room with the best gaming machines you can find, feed them coke, chips, and whatever they want (just get them laid, even!) and let them have at it doing what they love - causing Mayhem(tm). (Sounds better than working for Google)

Now the FBI wants to defend against that, so whom do they hire? The squeaky clean kid who can pass the myriad of tests and background screening (and who has no criminal record), sit through endless lecture, run an X min mile, and do Y pushups in 2 min, and can go out and physically arrest someone. Force them into a shirt and tie, make them sit through inummerable meetings and updates on the need to fill out their time card properly, sexual harrassment awareness, oh, and "we're charging you more for your HMO next month....AND we need that status report on child porn....YESTERDAY" Add to this that most of their actions must be "above board".

Its like a vanilla military trying to fight in guerrilla warfare....they're going to get creamed. I just see the model as being fundamentally broken

No surprise here (3, Informative)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962132)

A few years ago, someone cracked my wife's VOIP account and was using it to run a phishing-type bank scam. They were less than sophisticated in their methods, and with the help of the admins at the ISP from which the attack was coming, we quickly tracked down the source. The admin agreed to leave things in place long enough for me to contact the FBI. This I did, explaining that the attack was in progress "right now" and we had copious information that would make law enforcement action a no-brainer. Again, I reported an in-progress banking scam to the FBI. What I got from them was a promise that an agent would call me the next day. That's it. She didn't, and the other admin and I did what we could (precious little) to prevent more crime. Maybe the call-taker didn't understand the issue and it's immediacy. That's a problem in and of itself, and rather supports TFA's premise. Whatever the case, the message was loud and clear. Federal law enforcement does not pay attention to "the little people". Maybe it's indifference, or may be it's technical incompetence. It is definitelty fail.

Re:No surprise here (1)

martijnd (148684) | more than 2 years ago | (#35962904)

Basically nothing changed since Clifford Stoll wrote his book The Cuckoo's Egg (book) [wikipedia.org] back in 1989.

It wasn't the Internet and VOIP scams, but East European spies and 1200 baud modems. The FBI didn't care then either.

Re:No surprise here (1)

samweber (71605) | more than 2 years ago | (#35964446)

And yet, on other topics, Slashdotters are known for ranting about how government workers are overpaid, that government is evil, and libertarianism solves all problems. And here we see the result: when the FBI can't pay enough to hire good people, then it can't do its job well and everyone except the criminals suffers. It is all very well for people to bitch about their taxes, but there are real-world consequences.

And, to address another poster, who wrote "Most agents make $80k within 3 years if they do well and the upward limits can get over $130,000" -- that is NOT good pay. Consider that newly-minted MBAs tend to get around $100k, even though their actual skills like mostly in the ability to speak management-babble.

Re:No surprise here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35973466)

Yep same thing happened to me. A company I was working for was under attack. I had all kinds of logs and evidence. The FBI bitch didn't even know what a trace route was. She told me the FBI was not interested. Gee where's a cop when you need on. Yet protest about Native American rights and they are all up your ass.

You can't read too far into this.... (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 2 years ago | (#35963536)

FBI is government, government only gets money if there is a problem to fix. If they reported they were the best in the world, their funding would get cut and they wouldn't be able to sustain. The more critical findings are of the state of something in government, the more money is thrown it's way.

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