FBI Goes on Data Scientist Hiring Spree

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced it “has the funding it needs to hire data experts across all 56 of its field offices,” according to Jory Heckman of Federal News Radio. The timing of the hires has not yet been made clear.

The FBI has also reportedly expanded its recruitment efforts, including a pilot program to recruit high school students to internships in cybersecurity.

“We’ve actually done a big recruiting event, leveraging not only LinkedIn, but having our field offices actually going out to targeted colleges and universities that have strong programs in data science, and going out and getting much more aggressive,” said John Adams, executive assistant director of the FBI’s IT branch. “We believe that that is absolutely an area that is holding our organization back, with the amount of data that we are taking in, and the lack of talent to actually help make sense of that vast amount of data.”

Heckman cites Maria Voreh, the FBI’s chief data officer, who earlier this year “said the bureau has so much data that it is ‘near impossible’ for the agency to get value out of it quickly enough.”

Also noted by Adams is the agency’s increased use of both artificial intelligence and machine learning in rooting out perceived inside threats within the agency.

Heckman writes, “In order to combat insider threats, the agency has already launched two programs — Javelin, which helps track security violations, internal misconduct and internal espionage, and its Insider Threat Analysis Platform (InTAP), which uses the FBI’s big data analytics tools to flag potential threats.”

According to Adams, “A huge part of the organization deals with cyber and external investigations and working with victims of cyber hacking, and that informs us significantly about what our cybersecurity posture should be, based on what we’re seeing from nation-state hackers, criminal attackers, things like that. That helps us also derive what compliance we need to put in place from an insider threat perspective.”

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