FBI cyber posse goes back to school


The bureau hires the SANS Institute to teach ‘metasploit kung fu’ and other essential skills.

The FBI is sending its cyber squad back to school to earn special certifications, according to a contract notice stating the SANS Institute will teach the 38-course curriculum.

The new syllabus, called the Cyber Career Path Program, was prompted by “a greater need within the FBI for cyber investigators with accredited training,” stated a justification for the sole source award. “An unaccredited certification cannot provide rational assurances that all material and tests are up to the highest standard.”

For an undisclosed amount of money, SANS instructors will teach seminars that cover subjects including security essentials boot camp style, hacker techniques, exploits and incident handling, cloud security fundamentals, network penetration testing and ethical hacking, metasploit Kung Fu for enterprise pen testing, Windows memory forensics in-depth, technical communications and presentation skills for security professionals, and NetWars tournament play, an online, multilevel game where agents will test their offensive and defensive skills against each other.

SANS was the only education center supplying licenses accredited by the American National Standards Institute that expressed interest in the program during a two week application period and a similar competition held last year, FBI officials said.

In the past, the bureau found that unaccredited courses failed to challenge feds, which discouraged reading and diminished retention, officials added. And when the bureau tried delivering courses through multiple vendors, the arrangement disrupted the continuity of coursework.

“Although cyber training is a commonly offered product, only the SANS Institute is capable of providing all required courses with an ANSI accredited certification,” the justification stated.

The Pentagon, likewise in need of cutting-edge lessons, also is designing a uniform path of study, but one that likely will be offered through multiple approved institutions, Cyber Command officials said in June.

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