Tokyo police look to hire young hackers to prevent cyber crime
A student hackers' contest held in Tokyo over the weekend welcomed some unusual visitors -- three Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officials seeking to recruit distinguished computer geeks following the investigative fiasco over a series of online threats that resulted in false arrests.
"Why not use your skills for the cause of justice as a police officer?" one of the MPD officials told high school and college students taking part in the Security Contest (SECCON), a national convention for young hackers held on Feb. 23. While the MPD has recruited as investigators hackers who had worked for information security companies, it was the first time for the MPD to make such an approach to students.
The unprecedented move comes in the face of more and more sophisticated cyber crimes, including online threats using remotely controlled computers and cyber attacks on computers at companies and government offices. With the rapid progress of communication technology, law enforcers are required to hire personnel highly versed in technical knowledge.
At SECCON, which is organized by a group of some 20 volunteers including university professors and information security company engineers, a total of 46 participants aged 13 through 27 who cleared the preliminary rounds competed with each other in 10 teams, attempting to steal information stored in servers as quickly as possible.
The term "hacker," which means an engineer with sophisticated computer skills who regularly monitors hacking and detects security holes, is often associated in Japan with criminals with malicious intent to hack or attack computers.
At an exchange event on the evening of Feb. 23 following the contest, the three officials from the MPD's anti-cyber crime division explained the importance of cyber crime investigation to students.
"I'd never thought of becoming a policeman, but I've got interested in the level of police techniques in investigating cyber crimes," said a 21-year-old male student from the University of Tsukuba.
A senior MPD official said, "Expert knowledge is indispensable for cyber crime investigations. I hope students will consider the MPD as one of their candidate employers."
February 25, 2013(Mainichi Japan)