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Homeland Security reportedly struggles to replace departing cybersecurity experts

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hacking stock 640
hacking stock 640

As the Pentagon tentatively lays blame for hacking attacks at the feet of the Chinese military, the US Department of Homeland Security grapples with replacing four of its most prominent cybersecurity-focused officials. That includes Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity Mark Weatherford, as well as DHS second-in-command Jane Holl Lute. According to the New York Times, though, the search for replacements has highlighted how vulnerable the agency really is.

Sources have said that while the DHS is considering Symantec or McAfee executives, as well as Washington officials, they're worried that these picks wouldn't have much-needed links to either Silicon Valley or the hacking community. These sources would rather see a hacker community "rock star" like Def Con founder Jeff Moss, whose conference frequently draws intelligence officials looking for fresh talent. Moss joined the DHS Homeland Security Advisory Council in 2009, and he's served on a task force meant to help the agency recruit cybersecurity experts.

While Congress and the White House have stressed the importance of putting resources towards cybersecurity, the Times sources seem to express some pessimism about the agency's prospects. "Where is cyber at DHS right now?" asks one. "Who is minding the shop? And what have we been talking about for the past four years?"