DHS To Hire Cybersecurity Experts

By October 02, 2009

The Department of Homeland Security will hire up to one thousand Internet security experts over the next three years, announced Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday in the DHS Blog. As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month began, a White House staff-hosted Washington, DC event announced the hire boost to fill critical roles in "cyber risk and strategic analysis; cyber incident response; vulnerability detection and assessment; intelligence and investigation; and network and systems engineering."

While Secretary Napolitano does not anticipate filling all one thousand positions, the funding has already been budgeted.

The hiring plan reflects the Obama administration's commitment to improving cyber security, says the Associated Press. This major personnel move demonstrates a first step to provide a more secure national computer network. The currently existing network has proven vulnerable in recent events: attacks on federal agency Web sites in July knocked government domains off the Internet as well as interfered with the country's electrical grid.

The allocation of funding to the project not only shows a plan to protect the nation's networks, but also will give officials a competitive edge. "This new hiring authority will enable DHS to recruit the best cyberanalysts, developers and engineers in the world to serve their country by leading the nation's defenses against cyberthreats," Napolitano said to CNN Friday.

Though cybersecurity has top priority for the Obama administration, a dedicated head of such an effort has yet to be appointed. In the same CNN article, Chris Painter, acting senior director for cybersecurity of the White House National Security Staff, said the president remains committed to finding someone for the post.

NetworkWorld comments that proven network shortcomings must be quickly addressed, according to a Government Accountability Office report. While the previous attacks had little effect, next time, critical infrastructure, data and applications can be made unavailable in times of need.

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