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Elite U.s. Cyber Team Courts Hackers to Fight Terror

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An elite U.S. cyber team that has stealthily tracked Internet villains for more that a decade pulled back its cloak of secrecy to recruit hackers at a recent DefCon gathering in Las Vegas.


Vigilant, a U.S. cybersecurity team that has clandestinely tracked cybercriminals for more than 10 years, has an agenda to swell its ranks with an additional 1,750 "vetted volunteers" by 2012, and to this end it was invited to the recent DefCon hacker conference to recruit new talent.

More than 600 volunteers currently constitute Vigilant, and director Chet Uber says that his group mines Internet traffic for hints about online attacks, terrorists, cartels, and other prioritized targets. Uber says that Vigilant's research into attacks, underlying reasons for attacks, and preventative measures yields intelligence as a byproduct.

Vigilant is determined to collect intelligence through any legal recourse and then assemble the pieces into a larger picture. Uber says that Vigilant does not exceed the bounds of U.S. law while having greater flexibility than government agencies burdened with bureaucracy and internal strife. The group shares significant conclusions with U.S. intelligence agencies, while its ultimate objective is uncovering the identity of those who engineer cyberattacks. Uber is developing a mathematical model that can detect when terrorist groups are enlisting adolescents online.

From Agence France-Presse
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