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FBI Focuses on Cybersecurity With $90M Budget Request

Never before has cyber been higher on the FBI's list of priorities. Will more money allow the Feds to make a greater impact?

The FBI is requesting more than $63 million in new funding to fight cyber threats in 2024.

On April 27, FBI Director Christopher Wray presented before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, regarding his agency's share of President Biden's Fiscal Year 2024 budget request.

On the docket was foreign intelligence threats, violent crime, human trafficking, and more, but the director wasted no time getting to cyber. Barely 20 seconds into his opening statement, he launched into the problem of cyber threats to America, using China as a measuring stick.

"A key part of the Chinese government's multi-pronged strategy to lie, cheat, and steal their way to surpassing us as the global superpower is cyber," Wray told the committee. "To give you a sense of what we're up against, if each one of the FBI's cyber agents and intel analysts focused exclusively on the China threat, Chinese hackers would still outnumber FBI Cyber personnel by at least 50 to 1."

To help even the odds, the FBI request includes an additional 192 positions — 31 special agents, 8 intelligence analysts, and 153 other staff — plus $63.4 million "to enhance cyber information-sharing abilities and increase cyber tools and capacities," according to Wray’s statement for the record.  In addition, the request includes 4 jobs and an additional $27.2 million "to help protect internal FBI networks."

Will 90 million in new funding enable the FBI to make a meaningful dent in the worlds of cybercrime and nation-state APTs?

Can the FBI Help Clean Up Cyberspace?

The FBI has "a lot of very interesting capabilities and creative approaches to cyber," says Rex Booth, CISO at SailPoint. He witnessed the agency's work up close in his former capacities as chief of cyber threat analysis and senior advisor for CISA, as well as director of stakeholder engagement for the office of the national cyber director at the White House. "A lot of those impacts aren't going to be publicly visible," he admits, due to the nature of how government agencies operate, "but they're real."

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