Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

US gov’t building hacker army for cyber war

NSA-hackers-cyber-war
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The US National Security Agency hopes to hire a mass of “cyber warriors” this year, and another large group next year, to help the country fight the increasingly intense international cyber war, reports Reuters.

To find new recruits, representatives from the NSA, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and NASA, will be attending the annual DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas, which takes place this weekend.

Started in 1993 by hacker Jeff Moss (aka Dark Tangent), DEF CON is the preeminent meet-up for US hackers. The four-day conference costs $150 — in cash only — to attend. There is no registration, no credit cards allowed, which keeps everything anonymous. About 10,000 computer savvy individuals are expected to attend this year’s conference.

The NSA spy agency hopes to find skilled individuals willing to help the United States conduct itself — both defensively and offensively — in the growing global cyber war, which is gaining combatants and victims more and more each day. (Sources who attended last year’s DEF CON tell us that members of the US nation security complex were also in attendance then, as well, with similar recruiting goals.)

Hacker groups like LulzSec and Anonymous are running amok over the websites of corporations, and stealing classified documents from high-level trans-governmental organizations like NATO and the International Monetary Fund. More nefarious digital underground players — people like government-sponsored hackers from countries in eastern Europe, Russia, Iran and China — have allegedly breached some of the most sensitive systems in the US, like the Pentagon. It is to fight these enemies that the NSA and other US security agencies hope to build a hacker army.

“Today it’s cyber warriors that we’re looking for, not rocket scientists,” said Richard “Dickie” George, technical director for the NSA’s cyber-defense branch, in an interview with Reuters.

“That’s the race that we’re in today. And we need the best and brightest to be ready to take on this cyber warrior status.”

Problem is, many hackers live outside the law, or at least in its shadows; many are disestablishment players who believe that working for the US government is tantamount to surrender, or at least really lame.

Still, some hackers have crossed over to the other side. In fact, DEF CON founder Moss is himself now a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council. Plus, getting paid to do what you love is a luxury many in this world will never experience, especially when that thing involves high-level security clearance and serious national security issues that are straight out of an action movie.

Besides, says George, “we have a wonderful atmosphere, we have great people and we have the hardest problems on Earth. And we need help, the country needs help.”

Care to join?

[Image via]

Andrew Couts
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
One of Lenovo’s best-selling ThinkPad laptops is 45% off today
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 front angled view showing display and keyboard.

If you're on browsing through laptop deals for a machine that will immensely help in boosting your productivity, you may want to check out Lenovo's offer for the popular Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11. It's a powerful device so its original price is $3,319, but a 45% discount from Lenovo brings it down to a more reasonable $1,825. That's $1,494 in savings that you'll be able to spend on software and accessories, but you're going to have to proceed with the purchase right now if you want to make sure that you get it because this is a clearance sale, so there's no guarantee that stocks will still be available tomorrow.

Why you should buy the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 challenges the performance of the best laptops with its 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics, and 16GB of RAM that our guide on how much RAM do you need says is similar to what you'll find in top-tier machines. The device comes with a 14-inch touchscreen with WUXGA resolution for sharp details and bright colors, a 1TB SSD for ample storage space for your files, and Windows 11 Pro pre-installed so that you can access the more advanced capabilities of the operating system.

Read more
The world’s first 8K mini-LED monitor has arrived
The Asus ProArt PA32KCX 8K mini-LED professional monitor placed on a desk next to a workstation PC.

When it comes to the best professional-grade monitors, resolution, brightness, and color accuracy are all paramount. Asus is aiming to ace all three (and a lot more) with its newly announced ProArt PA32KCX, which is also the world’s first 8K mini-LED professional monitor.

The 8K resolution is the standout spec, of course. The monitor has a resolution of 7680 x 4320 across its 32-inch screen. One of the only other 8K monitors available that you actually buy is the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K, which came out in 2017.

Read more
This new VR headset beats the Vision Pro in one key way and is half the price
Pimax Crystal Super and Light VR headsets appear on a dark background.

While the Apple Vision Pro offers ultra-high-resolution displays with 23 million pixels, the staggering $3,500 price might inspire you to look for Vision Pro alternatives.

Good news: Pimax just announced two new VR headsets, including a budget model that costs as low as $799 and a more advanced version starting at $1,799. Both are based on the design of one of the best VR headsets currently available -- the Pimax Crystal that launched in May 2023 for $1,599 -- but come with a serious upgrade in terms of resolution.
Pimax Crystal Super

Read more