News in Brief

Fast track for cyber hiring, UK hacker and DHS prizes

Cybersecurity research

DOD gets fast-track hiring authority for 3,000 cyber hands

The Office of Personnel Management has given the Defense Department fast-track hiring authority for 3,000 cybersecurity specialists.

The move comes as U.S. Cyber Command aims to raise its staff level to 6,200, according to congressional testimony this week from the command's leader, Adm. Michael Rogers.

The hiring authority is valid through the end of the year and applies to computer scientists, computer engineers, criminal investigators and IT specialists, among other positions.

U.K. nabs DOD hacking suspect

The British National Crime Agency says it has arrested a 23-year-old man suspected of hacking a U.S. Defense Department communication system.

The agency alleges the hacker on June 15, 2014 stole data from DOD's Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services, which DOD employees use to communicate worldwide via encrypted phone calls, radio and other means.

The stolen data included the "non-confidential" contact information – such as names, titles and email addresses – of some 800 people. "No sensitive data was obtained and none of the data obtained could be used as personally identifiable information or compromise U.S. national security interests," said the NCA statement, which also underscored the agency's close collaboration, in general, with DOD and the FBI in investigating cyber crime.

Cybersecurity ties between Washington and Westminster grew closer in January when the two governments agreed to several bilateral measures.

DHS offers prize for indoor tracking tech

In an effort to crack the problem faced by firefighters of identifying comrades in a building filled with smoke, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate is sponsoring the "Where am I, Where is my Team?" prize for developing personalized, modular and scalable approaches to track first responders indoors, GCN reports.

Submissions should consist of a concept/design for a low cost, robust, real-time indoor tracking capability using current and emerging technologies, sensors and techniques, DHS said. The total cash prize payout for this competition is $25,000, consisting of a first place award of $20,000 and a second place award of $5,000.

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