Among the many duties assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the investigation of cybercrime. Those duties do overlap with other law enforcement agencies at times, especially for financial crimes, but it is the lead agency for investigations into cyberterrorism and espionage. Where and how those duties are performed are often shrouded in secrecy.
The Associated Press provides a small peek into the workings of the FBI‘s Pittsburgh cybercrimes unit in a recent article. The Pittsburgh office is considered one of its top performers. The story covers current plans by the Bureau to add 152 new cyber crimes positions in FY 2014. These include 50 new agents and 50 new computer scientists.
It appears that the recent successes of the Pittsburgh FBI office will mean more resources and more personnel. AP quotes FBI Director James Comey as stating “Where there’s great work going on, invest in it.” In FY2015, the Bureau hopes to have 750 “cyber agents” deployed across the nation.
The Bureau has an extensive website devoted to its cybercrimes efforts. In just the month of August, it led investigations into bank fraud, cyberstalking, Chinese computer hacking and more.
In May, FBI officials were talking about adding as many as 2,000 new positions if Congress made the funds available. They are also exploring outreach programs to academia and industry. Keeping skilled people in this field is difficult, and the Bureau is also exploring ways to make working for the FBI more attractive to the computer professionals that they need to retain.
Director Comey is aware of the concerns for privacy that come with cyberspace. He told the AP “We have to patrol it in a way that is transparent to good people and scary to bad people,” Comey said.