The U.S. government is increasingly facing cyber threats that could affect our national security and economy. As a result, the government is courting hackers for cyber security jobs, but needs to overhaul its image to lure young talent, who can easily find well paid jobs in Silicon Valley and private security firms:

“To get a sense of just how weak our cyberdefenses are, I take a trip with Jayson Street, Chief Chaos Coordinator for another firm, Krypton Security, into the basement of a hotel in South Beach. We breeze past an open door with a taped sign that reads, ‘Doors must be closed at all times!!!’ This is where the brains of the building live – the computer network, the alarm system, the hard drives of credit-card numbers – but, as Street tells a brawny security guard, he’s here on the job, ‘doing a Wi-Fi assessment.’ Street, a paunchy, 45-year-old Oklahoman in a black T-shirt and jeans, flashes the hulk some indecipherable graphs on his tablet and says, ‘We’re good,’ as he continues into another restricted room.

“The doors aren’t locked. No one seems to be monitoring the security cameras. The wires for the burglar-alarm system are exposed, ready for an intruder to snip. We make our way to the unmanned computer room, where, in seconds, Street could install malware to swipe every credit-card number coming through the system if he wanted to. ‘They’re like every other hotel I’ve tried to go into,’ he tells me. ‘They fail.’”