Homeland Security Seeks Ethical Hackers to Defend US

Dennis Faas's picture

If you're a computer hacker, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to hire you to help secure the nation's networks. Millions of digital attacks occur each day -- one of the most recent of which involves a breached fighter-jet project -- and has caused the DHS to put out ads looking for those who understand hackers.

Ethical Hacking

The DHS wants to hire so-called 'ethical hackers' to analyze threats and keep constant watch over government networks such as the Einstein program (PDF) and to develop ways to reduce vulnerabilities. In addition to hiring ethical hackers requested by the DHS, the Pentagon plans to increase the number of cyber experts it can train each year from 80 to 250 by 2011. (Source: msn.com)

U.S. Ill-prepared for Cyber Attacks

A 60-day study was conducted by the White House to determine how to better manage and use technology to protect everything from the nation's electrical grid, stock markets, tax data, airline flight systems, nuclear launch codes and everything in between.

Melissa Hathaway, appointed by President Obama to head the effort, deduced that unlike detailed plans for floods, fires and violations of protected airspace, no plans exist for responding to a major computer attack. According to the Government Accountability Office, there is no recovery plan in place in the event of a digital disaster either.

During recent Congressional hearings, industry leaders told Congress that law enforcement and other other protections are too outdated to fend off threats from criminals, terrorists and unfriendly nations.

Struggling Over Cyberspace Program Control

The Obama administration has been struggling with the question of who should control the nation's cyberspace programs, but there appears to be some agreement that the White House should coordinate the overall cyber security effort -- and not the National Security Agency.

A task force consisting of technology giants, including General Dynamics, IBM, Lockheed Martin, and Hewlett-Packard, urged the Obama administration to establish a White House-level official to lead the U.S. cyber efforts and develop ways of sharing information on problems with the private sector more quickly.

Federal Computer Networks Under Attack

The Pentagon and other federal computer networks are allegedly under constant attack, ranging from mere annoyances to more lethal assaults, presumably from other nations such as China. It's interesting to note that Israel, the country that poses the biggest threat to U.S. computer networks, is never mentioned.

Cyber threats also serve as potential national security risks. According to Pentagon officials, more than $100 million was spent in the past six months responding to and repairing damage caused by cyber attacks and other computer network problems. (Source: msn.com)

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