FBI searching for more computer scientists as cybersecurity thre - FOX34 Lubbock

FBI searching for more computer scientists as cybersecurity threats grow

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The FBI is looking for its next generation of crime fighters in the digital era, as recruiters are targeting colleges across the country, including visits to Texas Tech and South Plains Wednesday afternoon. 

This is an effort to inform students of its Honors Internship Program, which is a paid position for 10 weeks in the summer, designed to give students a unique opportunity to get their foot in the door with the FBI. 

Patricia Ortiz, an FBI recruiter and special agent for 22 years, said students will quickly learn the difference between reality and television when it comes to this work. 

"A lot of it is similar. There are aspect of what you see on TV that is what we really do, maybe just not so often, okay, we don't make arrests every day. One of the biggest myths that I see is that our investigations are long term, whereas on TV, everything is solved within an hour," Ortiz said. 

Another myth is that the FBI only hires field agents, as Special Agent Vicki Marwood said you don't have to be in the field to fight crime. 

"I think there is that misconception that everybody comes to the FBI as a field agent. That's not the case. As I explained, there are 35,000 people who work for the FBI. Only 14,000 of those are agents, so there's a whole wide range of other individuals who work with us that are professional staffers, intelligence analysts, the interns. So a wide variety of positions on the staff," Marwood said. 

Diversity is a core value of the bureau, as she added the FBI is interested in people from various backgrounds. 

"Like I said, she has a degree in psychology, I have a degree in accounting, we had the young gentleman here who asked about having a music degree. We look for people with a wide variety of backgrounds, a wide variety of ethnicities, we're trying to make the FBI more representative of society as a whole. When you go into a community, the people in that community can identify with you, they are more apt to share information, so our goal is to make the FBI more diverse," Marwood said. 

The U.S. is the most data-breached country in the world, and it's not even close, according to a report by Symantech. 

Ortiz said this is one of the main reasons why the FBI is putting an emphasis on hiring more computer scientists.  

"I think it's very important, and as a matter of fact, I believe some of our FBI offices are working with different universities to jointly work on curriculum to make sure that we are staying ahead of some of these computer crimes. That is one of the critical needs of the FBI, and so we are really hoping to recruit a lot of computer scientists and people with that kind of expertise, technical expertise," Ortiz said. 

There has been about a 27 percent increase in data breaches over the past year, according to a study by the Ponemon Institute. In addition, these cyber attacks are responsible for exposing more than 174 million confidential records. 

If you are interested in applying for the FBI's intern or entry-level program, here is the link for more information. 

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