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The CIA is changing to take on the online hackers

It’s a dangerous world out there on the wilds of the internet, whether you’re a movie studio, a hotel chain or just an average computer user. In the U.S., the Central Intelligence Agency is taking steps to make sure it’s better equipped to tackle these new threats, as it prepares for one of the largest reorganizations in its 67-year history.

The plans have been announced by CIA Director John Brennan and will cover everything from remote hacking attempts to internal email, as the Washington Post reports. Departments, lines of authority and even desk locations are all going to be rejigged to help the agency cope with the many facets of digital espionage. A new Directorate of Digital Innovation will be set up to oversee the CIA’s efforts in these areas.

“Our ability to carry out our responsibilities for human intelligence and national security responsibilities has become more challenging in today’s digital world,” Brennan said, as Reuters reports. “And so what we need to do as an agency is make sure we’re able to understand all of the aspects of that digital environment.”

Brennan named Kodak as a company that floundered because it didn’t adapt to changing times, and said he didn’t want to see the CIA going the same way. He also said the widespread changes would help his organization keep track of threats across different departments.

As well as improving methods of spying on others, Brennan explained, the new initiatives would help the CIA’s own agents avoid detection. The plans have been backed by White House officials, although others have questioned whether they’re viable at a time when the CIA’s resources are already being stretched in many different directions.

No timetable has been provided for the reorganization, but the next time that the U.S. is under attack from hackers, the CIA should be in a better position to be able to do something about it.

[Header image courtesy of Gil C / Shutterstock.com]