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Federal agencies can't compete for top cybersecurity analysts, says FBI.

An FBI official recently claimed that U.S. federal agencies have a shortage of cybersecurity analysts, which is contributing to the vulnerability of the nation's computer networks, according to a report on

At a public event in Manhattan, Agent Prashanth Mekala of the FBI's New York office said it takes unique skills to detect such "bad actors," and the government is failing to compete well with high tech companies in recruiting such experts.

"In the federal government, there's a shortage of skills of folks within cybersecurity space," Mekala said. "There is a growing third party in the private sector that we are also competing with."

Google and Microsoft, for example, hire many of the same cyber-sawy candidates that law enforcement agencies pursue. Mekala said the problem is affecting the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, the Department of Defense, and the FBI.

Professor Nasir Memon, New York University Tandon School of Engineering, asserted that an effective cybersecurity analyst must be trained in analyzing human behavior as well as the technology.

"Security is not just a technical problem," Memon said. "It's a business problem. It's a legal problem. It's a policy problem. It's a human behavior problem."

In 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, there were 83,000 information security analyst jobs, and employment was expected to grow 18% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than average. The median wage was 890,120 in May 2015.

In its 2017 budget request, the FBI requested S85.1 million to increase cyber-investigative capabilities.

Timothy Howard, cybercrime coordinator for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, said federal officials encourage private companies to promptly report any breaches because quick notice gives federal authorities insight into the latest methods used by cyber criminals.

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Title Annotation:GOVERNMENT RECORDS; Federal Bureau of Investigation
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2017
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