Cybersleuths of the FBI

While most of the country is asleep, a team of dedicated FBI computer specialists is working to respond to hackers and purveyors of malware that threaten the country’s internet and network security.

The Effect of Cybercrime on U.S. Security

According to testimony from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller:  “Computer intrusions and network attacks are the greatest cyber threat to our national security.”

Much of the critical infrastructure of the U.S. is run by computer systems, leaving the U.S. critically vulnerable to hacking.  For instance, a targeted attack on the inter-connected electrical grid has the potential to cripple the U.S. economy.  The country’s financial systems are also highly vulnerable to attack.

In the fall of 2012, the websites of several major banks were shut down by DDOS attacks.  These Distributed Denial of Service attacks involve having a number of compromised computer systems flood a particular website with traffic, overwhelming it and causing it to crash.  Such attacks are particularly effective and hard to stop, since the traffic can be coming from potentially hundreds of thousands of sources.

The Next Generation Cyber Initiative

Announced in October 2012, this new initiative unleashed a team of computer specialists at the FBI dedicated to ferreting out the source of hacking attempts on U.S. businesses and government agencies.  By tracking these attacks to their source, the FBI hopes to be able to stop them and to determine appropriate retaliation.

These agents are part of the FBI Cyber Division’s Cyber Watch.  Investigators in the field are able to relay findings to them around the clock.  To increase the effectiveness of the analyses and responses, information is shared with agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Department of Defense (DOD).

The Recruitment of Computer Scientists to the FBI

The computer sciences are key areas the FBI is targeting as a source of new agents.  The hiring of individuals with backgrounds in computer science is currently a priority within the Bureau.  Careers at both the GS7/9 and 11/12 levels are available for aspiring agents with computer science backgrounds.

To find out about joining these elite national security specialists, contact the FBI.  Potential recruits will have to meet the physical requirements for special agents and the FBI’s rigorous background investigation.


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