Tag Archives: recruitment

Hackers of the future – the Pentagon is hiring!

hackerWell, maybe John Robb was wrong about the Pentagon… because here they are, announcing a recruitment contest for young hackers with the intention of turning them into military cybersecurity professionals.

The competitions, as planned, go far beyond mere academics. The Air Force will run a so-called Cyber Patriot competition focused on network defense, fending off a “Red Team” of hackers attempting to steal data from the participants’ systems. The Department of Defense’s Cyber Crime Center will expand its Digital Forensics Challenge, a program it has run since 2006, to include high school and college participants, tasking them with problems like tracing digital intrusions and reconstructing incomplete data sources.

The security-focused SANS Institute, an independent organization, plans to organize what may be the most controversial of the three contests: the Network Attack Competition, which challenges students to find and exploit vulnerabilities in software, compromise enemy systems and steal data.

All that stuff that the Chinese aren’t supposed to be able to do to US systems, in other words. The brass are worried that China’s got the jump on them as far as young hacker talent is concerned:

China, for its part, may be well ahead of the U.S. in cybersecurity education and recruiting, Paller argues. In a hearing before the Senate’s Homeland Security last month, Paller told the story of Tan Dailin, a graduate student in China’s Sichuan province who in 2005 won several government-sponsored hacking competitions and the next year was caught intruding on U.S. Department of Defense networks, siphoning thousands of unclassified documents to servers in China. “China’s People’s Liberation Army is running these competitions all the time, aiming their recruits at the U.S.,” Paller says. “Shouldn’t we be looking for our best talent the way other countries are?”

But a parallel track of domestic cyber training raises the specter of U.S. government-trained hackers not only stealing data from foreign enemies–a diplomatically thorny prospect in itself–but also hacking other targets for fun or profit, and potentially becoming a rogue collection of skilled cybercriminals. “There probably could be a couple people we train that go to the dark side,” admits Jim Christy, director of the Department of Defense’s Cyber Crime Center. “But we’ll catch them and send a message. The good guys will outweigh the bad.”

You’ll catch the ones who aren’t so good at covering their tracks, perhaps. Still, I wonder if the same motivations will express. As mentioned before, China’s hackers are allegedly self-trained and motivated by their own patriotism; will the same apply to the geek demographic in the US, or will the young console cowboys see more opportunity (or less risk) in the civilian sphere? [via SlashDot; image by ioerror]

US Army jumps on the Second Life bandwagon… just as it stops moving

I’m not sure whether to be amused or baffled by the news that – just as almost every other big organisation has given up on Second Life being anything more than a virtual playground – the United States Army is going to set up a recruitment station there. Is there a suitable military acronym for the sensation of having missed the boat… or (perhaps more aptly) having missed the point?

A few good bloggers – Futurismic is hiring!

So, you may have noticed Justin joining the ranks here at Futurismic this week – and a fine addition I’m sure he’ll be. But we need more – there’s too much interesting stuff for us to cover!

So, are you interested in blogging for Futurismic? See if you fit our criteria:

  • enthusiastic consumer of science fiction literature and cutting edge news
  • some blogging experience (preferably WordPress-based; personal sites and LJs count, MySpace and Facebook don’t)
  • some very basic HTML skills
  • good language skills
  • an eye for a news story with a science fictional angle
  • the time and resources to post approximately once per weekday (though if you can only post at weekends, we’re still interested)

Does that sound like you? Does the idea of blogging for Futurismic appeal?

I’ll be totally upfront – there’s no money involved. The only people who get paid at Futurismic are our fiction contributors. But it’s a lot of fun, and there’s kudos and glory to be gained! Plus the thrill of writing for an audience of 2,000 people every day.

Still keen? Great! Head on over to the Futurismic Contact page and follow these instructions precisely:

In the subject field type “Blogging Application”.

Then in the message field provide:

  • your full name (and nom de blog, if relevant)
  • links to sites where you’ve blogged/are blogging
  • a few sentences explaining why you think you’d make a great blogger for Futurismic
  • any specialist subjects and focused interests that you think make you stand out from the pack

Then attach and upload a file IN RICH TEXT (.RTF) FORMAT ONLY that contains two sample posts that you’d consider appropriate to Futurismic‘s house style. It’s the content we’re looking for, but do show what links you’d use and where you’d put them. Extra points for posts fully coded in HTML.

Pretty easy, right? Please follow those instructions carefully, though – the wrong subject field might mean your application gets eaten by the spam-trap, and the form won’t let you upload the wrong sort of file.

The rest is down to you – the deadline for applications is this Sunday, 25th May. Enquiries from previous applicants welcome. Get to it!

Are you game for a secret service job?

The British secret service has been suffering from a paucity of computer-savvy employees, and so they’ve turned their recruitment radar in a different direction – they’re advertising inside MMO computer games. But budding Bonds with a Halo jones should take note – they’re looking for signals and decryption types to work at GCHQ, so you won’t be getting your Walther PPK any time soon.

[tags]recruitment, secret service, MMO, games[/tags]