Nightly News | August 07, 2011
>>> in recent days, the computer-hacking group known as anonymous launched a cyberattack on u.s. law enforcement websites, posting a trove of private information online. as a growing worry in the u.s. that we're falling behind in the cyberbattle and you'll never guess where officials are looking for recruits to fight back. nbc's justice correspondent pete williams has our report.
>> reporter: at this las vegas conference of computer geeks , the federal government is looking for hackers. but it's not trying to arrest them, it's trying to hire them.
>> you're dealing with the brightest people in the world. these people come together here to exchange and share ideas. and we need those type of people.
>> the national security agency , nsa, for decades the federal government 's eavesdropper in chief, is scrambling to deploy more troops object the latest security battlefield. it's the real-life version of cyberattacks depicted on the tv series , "24" and the movie " die hard 4 ." hackers targeting the computers that control the stock market or the power grid . air traffic controls or phone networks.
>> the adversary is everywhere. we are everyone's target. we will always have that bull's eye on our shirt.
>> dickie george is the man in charge of the nsa's cyberdefenders, its directate for information assurance . he says the agency is looking to hire nearly 3,000 cyber experts in the next two years. and the computer whizes at places like that las vegas hacker convention are made to order.
>> i solve problems extremely quickly and i enjoy learning, it's my passion in life and i think with that skill set, that would be valuable to anyone.
>> we need them. there are too few people on our side right now.
>> it's the cyber version of it takes a thief to catch a thief. nsa wants experts 40 can strengthen the nation's defenses, probe for weaknesses and detect attacks in their earliest stages. every day brings words that cyberthieves have stolen secrets from companies and a new report from a cybersecurity firm mcafee reports that all from a single source, widely thought to be china.
>> the government's concern is state-sponsored espionage in an unprecedented scale. foreign governments targeting our nation's networks and the private-sector networks. and that's why the government is hiring so many new cyber cyber specialists.
>> reporter: and giving so many computer hackers a chance to work for the good guys.