Threat Level Thursday: Hackers Don't Like Working for the Government, Anonymous and Pizza
What's going on this week in the world of cybersecurity? For starters, we have a government hiring problem, another government agency stepping into the cyber fray, a World Cup under fire and, naturally, pizza being exploited.
Government Hiring Problem
Recent economic trends have put stress on applicants and employees, sure, but what about government agencies? Aren't Big Brothers subject to the same landscape?
The issue here is the freedom and lucrative nature of the private sector versus working for the government.
Enter the beloved NSA. The Big Brother of the United States has run into some trouble, and this time it's domestic and American. According to a RAND study, government agencies involved in cybersecurity, such as the NSA, are having trouble filling job vacancies with qualified candidates. The reason? A competent cybersecurity employee is expensive and hard to train, and that makes fat private offers much more appealing to prospects than a bureaucratic salary.
"It's largely a supply-and-demand problem," said Martin Libicki, lead author of the RAND study. "As cyberattacks have increased and there is increased awareness of vulnerabilities, there is more demand for the professionals who can stop such attacks. But educating, recruiting, training and hiring these cybersecurity professionals takes time."
If you think the NSA has it hard, check out the FBI. Not only does the FBI have to provide compelling incentives, the agency apparently cannot recruit anybody without pot. That's right, marijuana.
"I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cybercriminals, and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview," FBI Director James B. Comey said at the White Collar Crime Institute.
The FBI is apparently reconsidering its policy of marijuana-tainted applicants in light of the fact that stoners might be the way to go when protecting our nation's cyberinfrastructure. In fact, Comey told a conference goer that his friend "should go ahead and apply" even if he used marijuana.
But then again, every official has to backtrack on the issue of pot sometime, right?
"I am absolutely dead set against using marijuana," Comey said at the hearing. "I don't want young people to use marijuana. It's against the law. We have a three-year ban on marijuana. I did not say that I'm going to change that ban. I said I have to grapple with the change in my workforce."
"The challenge is that this private sector-led effort must be more dynamic than traditional regulation and more measurably effective than blindly trusting the market or voluntary best practices to defend our country," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. "The new paradigm for the communications sector must be real and meaningful. It has to work. The commission's commitment to market accountability will help ensure that it does work. And, while I am confident that it will work, we must be ready with alternatives if it doesn't."
Anonymous vs. World Cup
Infamous hacktivist group Anonymous threatened World Cup affiliates with cyberattacks this year, and the team has delivered. Anonymous managed to take down a number of World Cup-related sites, along with the official website, due to the lavish spending on the games that ignored local populations. There has been no sign of Anonymous cyberattacks since last week, but keep your eyes peeled: They have promised more.
Last week saw hackers seize customer information from Domino's locations in France and Belgium. Is there anything to be worried about? No. No financial information was involved in the theft; instead, the hackers threatened to release victims' favorite toppings if a $40,000 ransom was not paid.
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