Hackers for good: Uncle Sam is looking for patriotic computer geeks

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In the 1983 film "WarGames," Matthew Broderick plays a teenage computer hacker who finds a back door into an American military supercomputer designed to operate autonomously. While stumbling around, the hacker nearly triggers World War III by playing what he believes to be a harmless simulation of a thermonuclear attack.

Three decades later, the precocious young computer hacker has become a familiar figure in American life and is now wanted by Uncle Sam.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will begin recruiting young hackers to help it counter the growing threat of foreign cyber threats. Attempts by foreigners to steal government and corporate secrets through hacked computer networks have been on the rise.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wants to enlist 600 hackers to work with U.S. intelligence while they're young and open to a government job with limited pay. Cyber security in the private sector is more lucrative, and that's where much of the nation's computer talent gravitates.

The nation's vulnerability to harm from computer disruption -- in business, government or even water systems and power plants -- is a fact. There's nothing like a real-life "WarGames" to inspire a new patriotism among young Americans.



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