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  • Panda Hunters Wanted, No Experience Required
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 12:49 PM on Apr 01, 2011

    "We have done an admirable job of identifying the problem, and then standing in a circle and admiring it." So says Lynn Dugle, president of Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems and one of the company's leaders in the defense against China's cyberespionage campaign. (Dugle didn't name the panda in the room -- I did.)

    In a fast-paced brief to the Air Force Association's CyberFutures conference yesterday, Dugle says that cyberdefenders "have done an outstanding job except for three things. We are over-reliant on historical learning, we're looking for talent in all the wrong places, and the organizations that most need that talent are the least likely to attract it."

    "Other than that, we're doing great."

    Cyber, Dugle says, is "not like physics, where the half-life of what you learn is measured in decades", so the traditional concepts of learning and development don't apply.

    Also, cyberexperts don't fit the mold of big-company recruitment -- "from prestigious universities with high GPAs". Out of Raytheon's last three "premier cyberrecruits", Dugle says, one had never graduated from high school and was working on the filler line at a pharmaceutical plant (Raytheon found him on a hacker site), and another was a high-schooler that the company found at a hacker competition, singlehandedly pwning teams of more experienced people.

    (Bonus quote from the day, from Dr Martin Libicki of Rand: "I suspect that there are quite a few junior high schools that have a substantial cyberattack capability.")

    Finally, Dugle adds, "we make efforts in big companies to be inclusive toward everybody -- but we have an embedded bias towards people who want to work 9-to-5, charge their time in six-minute intervals and conform to a dress code. Is that solid thinking or flawed logic? What if you work when you want to, and every time you find a vulnerability, I write you a check?"

    "I throw that out to the human resources people," Dugle concludes, "and they start vibrating in place."

    Tags: ar99, cyber, raytheon

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