NSA Wants to Hire Hackers at DefCon

NSA Wants to Hire Hackers at DefCon

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The National Security Agency descends on the Las Vegas hacker convention looking for fresh blood to turn into "cyber warriors."

DefCon is an annual gathering of hackers in Sin City which incongruously allows people who've only conversed in IRC chat rooms to meet face-to-face. The convention will cover all of the hot topics in hackerdom today, including panels on techniques and a fair amount of boasting of hacker exploits. The cost to attend is $150 cash - no credit cards or trackable currency allowed - but many hackers will walk away from DefCon with a fancy new job. High-tech corporations always have a presence trying to recruit the often intelligent hacker community to work for them, but perhaps the most intriguing story is that the oft-misunderstood government agency - the NSA - is also entreating former hackers to become cyber warriors in the fight against America's enemies online.

"Today it's cyber warriors that we're looking for, not rocket scientists," said Richard "Dickie" George from the NSA. "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."

The joke that Washington tells about the NSA is that the acronym stands for "No Such Agency" for its secretive operations conducted to keep U.S. citizens safe. Many of the 30,000 employees (reportedly greater in number than both the CIA and the FBI) are already steeped in hacker culture, having previously crossed the legal line from entitlement into enforcement.

"When I walk down the hall there are people that I see every day and I never know what color their hair's going to be," George said. "And it's a bonus if they're wearing shoes. We've been in some sense a collection of geeks for a long, long time."

The NSA plans to hire 1,500 workers by the end of September, and another 1,500 next year most of which will become cyber warriors. I'm not sure if anyone who starts working for the NSA will start retaliating against the likes of Anonymous or the nameless criminals who downed Sony's PlayStation Network earlier this year, but I'd say that's probably a good place to start.

And also, please one of you just start walking around the NSA offices claiming that you are Zero Cool and you crashed 1507 computers in one day.

Source: Reuters

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Hell yeah! They are finally getting the right idea!

Just remember to give them a Psych Eval that will make Secret Services agents cringe. You have to make sure their intentions are "pure." Please, for the love of God, don't skip this step!

So...

A bunch of suits from an agency that doesn't exist is going to meet to a bunch of paranoid anti-government geeks, asking them to come away with them in their black helicopters.

I can see no possible way this can go wrong.

Elementlmage:
Hell yeah! They are finally getting the right idea!

Just remember to give them a Psych Eval that will make Secret Services agents cringe. You have to make sure their intentions are "pure." Please, for the love of God, don't skip this step!

Really bad timing, given that the GAO just came out to blast the government for not knowing what it's doing in cyberspace...

I wonder how many of these enlisted hackers are going to be anons?

Honestly i'm surprised that the "Hackers convention" isn't just an NSA Sting operation.

Pff, yeah, sure. They've pulled this shit before. Remember that guy who hacked the HL2 beta source code? He was offered a job too...

The_root_of_all_evil:
So...

A bunch of suits from an agency that doesn't exist is going to meet to a bunch of paranoid anti-government geeks, asking them to come away with them in their black helicopters.

I can see no possible way this can go wrong.

I bow to thee for the ninja good sir. I probably would have said black SUV's but same point.

Also i would have assumed most hackers would think it was a sting operation. like 'pssh shitty plan; they think we are that stupid?'. I wonder if they admit people in black suits and sunglasses.

The_root_of_all_evil:
So...

A bunch of suits from an agency that doesn't exist is going to meet to a bunch of paranoid anti-government geeks, asking them to come away with them in their black helicopters.

I can see no possible way this can go wrong.

As long as none of them are the reported hack-job hackers from a bit ago, who cares?

Besides, I doubt 90% of the hackers I mentioned had parents who gave them the $150 to attend, much less signed the slip of paper excusing them from middle school.

The_root_of_all_evil:
So...

A bunch of suits from an agency that doesn't exist is going to meet to a bunch of paranoid anti-government geeks, asking them to come away with them in their black helicopters.

I can see no possible way this can go wrong.

image
Wonder if they'll actually get any takers....

The_root_of_all_evil:
So...

A bunch of suits from an agency that doesn't exist is going to meet to a bunch of paranoid anti-government geeks, asking them to come away with them in their black helicopters.

I can see no possible way this can go wrong.

You're thinking of the BlackHat convention. DefCon's full of feds and hackers alike, and has actually toned down on the anti-scene punks in recent years. Sort of become respectable.
Also to the article's author, knowing people who regularly attend DefCon, the ZeroCool reference is enough to get any "hacker" ostracized from the community immediately. According to "real" hackers, that movie is an atrocity at worst and a comedic parody at best.

RagTagBand:
Honestly i'm surprised that the "Hackers convention" isn't just an NSA Sting operation.

Might want to read up on the original meaning of the word hacker. The jargon files are a good read for that.

It's a shame, I thought it was about this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyIHvlFmJnU

:(.

This is happening in my hood? That's actually pretty scary.

Didn't North Korea do this a few weeks ago?

Greg Tito:
Snip

Well, most governments do hire hackers to try to fight hackers, or hire them to try to hack into the government systems, so they can "plug the leaks" as it were.

This kind of the thing is older than computer to. Vegas has a long history of hiring the people that cheated millions out of the casinos, because those are the guys that know the tricks best and know what to look for.

The_root_of_all_evil:
So...

A bunch of suits from an agency that doesn't exist is going to meet to a bunch of paranoid anti-government geeks, asking them to come away with them in their black helicopters.

I can see no possible way this can go wrong.

The step in between meeting and helicopter that you may have omitted is the exchange of a wad of cash.

Money talks, and anti-security persons generally work for the highest bidder, especially when there was no bidder in the first place.

smudgey:

The_root_of_all_evil:
So...

A bunch of suits from an agency that doesn't exist is going to meet to a bunch of paranoid anti-government geeks, asking them to come away with them in their black helicopters.

I can see no possible way this can go wrong.

image
Wonder if they'll actually get any takers....

I was just about to post this.
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Well I wonder too if anyone will actually show up for the applications XD

Greg Tito:
"When I walk down the hall there are people that I see every day and I never know what color their hair's going to be," George said. "And it's a bonus if they're wearing shoes. We've been in some sense a collection of geeks for a long, long time."

Apparently the NSA is staffed by hackers from twenty-year-old movies.

Comforting.

(Wonder when DefCon will start taking cryptocurrency.)

Heh...
I am reading this while wearing my shirt that says:
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Edit:
While it'd be cool to have people that usually fight "the system", fight the anti-system, I seriously seriously doubt that these people will fight for the good that the NSA has in mind. The very nature of organization that the NSA represents is an affront to the digital freedom that these people enjoy and unintentionally (or intentionally) advocate for.
Either way, I imagine the NSA will have semi-good hackers on their payroll, fighting hardcore hackers that live off of their parents/UI cheques, who devote themselves to a digital freedom no matter what the cost.

Awesome to see that one government is finally getting the right idea, although this probably happens quietly in most agencies like these.

CINN4M0N:
I wonder how many of these enlisted hackers are going to be anons?

Very few. The better hackers are generally less well known, and very few anons can actually hack.

I'm going to give them the benefit of a doubt and pray that by "Hire" they mean "Gas"

Otherwise they're just another bunch of morons who think you can reason with these people.

Torrasque:

While it'd be cool to have people that usually fight "the system", fight the anti-system, I seriously seriously doubt that these people will fight for the good that the NSA has in mind. The very nature of organization that the NSA represents is an affront to the digital freedom that these people enjoy and unintentionally (or intentionally) advocate for.
Either way, I imagine the NSA will have semi-good hackers on their payroll, fighting hardcore hackers that live off of their parents/UI cheques, who devote themselves to a digital freedom no matter what the cost.

Okay, this is getting a bit silly.
The "hardcore hackers" are not those 18 year old goons sitting in their parents basement, setting up shitty ddos attacks with one hand while masturbating with the other.
The guys who are actually valuable, who actually know something about network security, exploitation and social engineering, who can actually do stuff that is much more interesting and menancing than blocking a site for a day or two, those guys usually have jobs, university degrees and, quite often, R&D gigs.
The NSA is NOT going to hire anon, in much the same way they won´t hire shadowrun cosplayers to do their human intelligence.

..about time they did this. We need more talented people on the digital frontline.

I WANT.
Working at the NSA sounds awesome.

Well Geeky nerds with Geeky nerds I guess.

CINN4M0N:
I wonder how many of these enlisted hackers are going to be anons?

Anons can't hack. They use DDoS attacks. Any child could do this.

amaranth_dru:

The_root_of_all_evil:
So...

A bunch of suits from an agency that doesn't exist is going to meet to a bunch of paranoid anti-government geeks, asking them to come away with them in their black helicopters.

I can see no possible way this can go wrong.

You're thinking of the BlackHat convention. DefCon's full of feds and hackers alike, and has actually toned down on the anti-scene punks in recent years. Sort of become respectable.
Also to the article's author, knowing people who regularly attend DefCon, the ZeroCool reference is enough to get any "hacker" ostracized from the community immediately. According to "real" hackers, that movie is an atrocity at worst and a comedic parody at best.

Black Hat is kind of respectable, too, from what I gather. For one thing, anyone going has to get past the $1000+ price tag which makes it more of a professional development conference than some sort of underground convention. (Actually, the one person I know who lectured at Black Hat talked about serious stuff at Black Hat and frivolous stuff at DEFCON.)

What I'm wondering is how NSA agents recruiting at Defcon will influence the "spot a fed" program. I think only the first person to identify the particular fed gets the T-shirt, though, so it probably won't make much of a difference.

this is nothing new. i knew a guy who hacked into banks server and that bank hired him as security chief. another guy hacked into pentagon (this one i didnt knew personally, but hes form my city) and got hired by FBI or some other similar agency. the problem is, the actual GOOD hackers dont go to such conventions. they will get those low to average hackers that will be good workers for them, but they still wont be the best cyber warriors team out there.
all in all, true hackers wont go to NSA but will now have a pretty strong counterpoint from them.

Anons can't hack. They use DDoS attacks. Any child could do this.

Right and your going to tell us DDoS attacks steals data too right? All it does is overlaod thier servers making it easier but they still got to hack in. and frankly, i wonder why DDos works anyway with current technology, one must have thousands of zombie pcs to pull this off nowadays or the servers will simply block the traffic instantly.

Aeshi:
I'm going to give them the benefit of a doubt and pray that by "Hire" they mean "Gas"

Otherwise they're just another bunch of morons who think you can reason with these people.

I agree. We should murder everybody who you have no idea about what they do and who they are purely because you associate their name with something negative.

Aeshi:
I'm going to give them the benefit of a doubt and pray that by "Hire" they mean "Gas"

Otherwise they're just another bunch of morons who think you can reason with these people.

... and we should have "gassed" Frank Abagnale Jr., who gave us most of the modern developments in check unforgeability, too, just because he spent his teenage years posing as an off-duty airline pilot and cashing phony checks.

The thing about people who're good at breaking security is... they usually know a lot about security. At some point, they'll have an urge to settle down and stop being outlaws. Why not hire them to use their knowledge to make it harder for the next guy like them?

 

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