SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is launching a nationwide recruiting drive for talented tech professionals, who can keep up with hackers both foreign and domestic, and are publicizing it in the Bay Area due to the region's vast talent pool.
The FBI is recruiting cyber experts as special agents, computer scientists, or information technology forensic examiners. They're also hiring for their cyber internship program.
"We have a unique area in terms of the pool of potential applicants that you can get in any particular job field," Assistant Special Agent in Charge Malcolm Palmore said.
"What we've found historically is that agents come from lots of various backgrounds," Palmore said. "It's easier with regard to the cyber realm if the agents come on board with some knowledge."
Qualifications include work history and educational backgrounds in a tech-specific field.
"We're looking for folks who are technically inclined, and by technical we mean an emphasis on math, science and engineering backgrounds," Palmore said.
Relevant fields included computer science, computer security and network technology, he said.
Professor Eugene O'Donnell, a former New York police officer who now teaches criminal justice at John Jay College, told KCBS that law enforcement is run on a policing model that's becoming increasingly outdated.
"If you go to the FBI academy, you've still got a long run and firearms proficiency and really, many of the people the FBI needs to recruit are really couch potatoes," he said. "It's really a job of intellect now and it's a job of technical knowledge, much more than the old days of knocking down doors and dragging people out by their hair."
There are still huge obstacles, however, as applicants must pass an extensive background check.
"We're looking for the same cadre of people that we've always looked for, which primarily are folks that can pass an FBI background investigation," Palmore said. "We're not changing any of our hiring standards."
While officials acknowledge they probably can't compete with private sector salaries, they hope that wearing the badge will carry some weight too.
Cybersecurity has been a point of focus in national news media since Sony Pictures Entertainment altered its plans for the release of the film "The Interview," starring actors Seth Rogen and James Franco, after reports emerged that hackers from North Korea may have compromised the Japanese corporation.
There was also a compromise of social media accounts belonging to the United States military's Central Command, also known as CENTCOM on Monday. The hack occurred during a speech from President Obama about bolstering cybersecurity measures, according to media reports.
Eligibility is limited to United States citizens. More information about job requirements and employment opportunities can be found online at http://www.fbijobs.gov/cybercareers.
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