As the world reacts to the death of Osama bin Laden in what is being rightly characterized as both a military and intelligence victory, we are just beginning to learn about the special operations, undercover work, and interrogations that took place in order to make this moment possible. We know that many man hours have been spent tracking this individual who was responsible for so many deaths not just on the tragic day of 9/11 but through other terrorist acts as well, and I am sure that some of the information gathered was done through research in cyberspace. However, an article released last week shared that up to one-third of our FBI agents don’t have the necessary training and expertise to stop possible attacks that occur using this virtual world as a launching point.
The FBI has developed a dozen core courses to teach its agents about the threats to national security that are posed by cyber-attacks but that agents are able to skip them if there is other training available more relevant to their current post. Also, the report shared the warning that we have heard before— there is not enough intelligence sharing when it comes to what is occurring on the internet and that can leave members of law enforcement in the dark about potential attacks until it is too late.
In the time in which we live, when computers and online communication are only going to become more integral parts of how we operate every day, it seems important that the men and women who are there to protect us from threats are ready to do so in the infinite environment that is the world of cyberspace.
In my second novel, Dead Game, I examine a killer who uses the Internet to lure his victims to their death. While not posing a national security risk, this fictional character represents all of the dangers that we confront when using technology that also offers us so much good.