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10/26/2006
05:35 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: Cybersavvy? The FBI Is Calling

The feds are having a problem keeping up with Internet crime.

The FBI is looking for young men and women with special skills--namely, Internet savvy (see "Cybercrime High On FBI Priority List: Help Wanted"). What the average American might find surprising is how desperate the FBI is for these skills.

SCENE: Early morning. College campus, student center. JOE and TED sit in folding chairs behind a card table with a sign taped in front: "Job Recruiters." JOE and TED are big men, arms folded, clean cut, dark suits. LARRY, an older student, approaches.

LARRY: What's the gig?

JOE: We're with the FBI. We're looking for recruits who know a lot about computers.

LARRY: Sure, I know a lot about computers.

TED: Do you know anything about security vulnerabilities on the Net?

LARRY: I know Windows is full of them.

JOE: Would you be willing to take some tests at FBI headquarters?

LARRY: You mean like push-ups and shooting guns, that kind of thing?

TED: Something like that.

LARRY: I'd love to help you out, but I've got a job with Google as soon as I graduate.

SCENE: Late afternoon. A high school gymnasium. JOE and TED sit in folding chairs behind a card table, under a sign that says "Career Day." JAYSON, a young student, approaches.

JAYSON: Who are you?

JOE: We're with the FBI. We're looking for special kids who know a lot about computers.

JAYSON: I know about computers.

TED: Do you know about the bad men who do bad things on the Internet?

JAYSON: Is that a trick question?

JOE: Do you know how to write software?

JAYSON: Nothing pretty, but I can throw down some code.

JOE: Do you know what a Trojan horse is?

JAYSON: You mean, like, Greeks bearing gifts, that Homer stuff?

TED: No, like a virus or a worm.

JAYSON: And the reason I would admit to writing an Internet worm is ... ?

JOE: Cybercrime is getting out of hand. The FBI needs help keeping up with the increasing fraud and threats.

JAYSON: You're in luck. After school, I run an Internet security company. Me and my homies can fix you right up. Here's my card. But I warn you, we don't come cheap.

SCENE: Midday. Middle school playground. JOE and TED, in sunglasses, sit on folding chairs behind a card table at the far end of the playground. ALEXIS, a young girl, approaches.

ALEXIS: What are you doing here?

JOE: We're with the FBI. We're looking for special kids who know something about computers.

ALEXIS: My sister and I run a video Web site for our friends.

TED: Do you know about the mean men on the Internet?

ALEXIS: Like AOL and the music industry?

JOE: No, like bad men who send bad things into your computer over the Internet.

ALEXIS: Our firewall filters most of that junk.

TED: Would you be willing to go to Washington?

ALEXIS: Lunchtime is almost over. I've got to get back to class. Nice talking with you. Bye.

If you've got the right stuff, and you know a phishing scheme from a fly rod, the FBI is looking for you. If you've got an industry tip, send it to jsoat@cmp.com, or call 516-562-5326.


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page.

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