By Jeff Bliss
Sept. 14, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security plans by next year to more than
double the number of employees in one of its cyber-security units, a
department official said today.
The additional workers are needed because computer hackers are honing
their skills and launching more attacks on businesses and consumers,
said Philip Reitinger, deputy under secretary of the National Protection
and Programs Directorate at DHS.
"We're dealing with an increasingly dynamic and threatening
environment," he told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs at a Washington hearing. 'Hackers' skills are
rising across the board."
The panel held the hearing in the aftermath of highly publicized cyber
crimes that have cost businesses and consumers millions of dollars. On
Sept. 11, Albert Gonzalez, 28, pleaded guilty to leading an
international criminal ring that stole 40 million credit and debit card
records from U.S. retailers including TJX Cos., OfficeMax Inc. and BJ.s
Wholesale Club Inc.
Prosecutors have called it the largest case of identity theft in U.S.
DHS plans to increase the National Cybersecurity Division workforce to
260 from 111, Reitinger said. The division analyzes and responds to
computer attacks on the government and companies that provide critical
services such as electricity and phone transmission.
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