Taiwan’s intelligence agency gets zero enlistment for its cyber unit

29 Apr

Based on reporting from Storm Media Group, the National Security Bureau (NSB), the main intelligence agency of Taiwan, is having trouble establishing its own “cyber division” due to lackluster recruitment efforts. Since 2014, the NSB has tried to enlist IT security specialists through civil service examination. However, no one has applied for the special, senior-level examination that is the mandatory first step to being taken on by the agency. This absence of any candidate is the first time in the NSB’s hiring history.

The reporting states the main reason behind the zero applicant problem is the difficult pre-requisites for the prospective test takers. In order to be eligible for the examination, an applicant must already be a qualified civil servant and have relevant IT certifications.

A source who is familiar with the IT security scene in Taiwan told TechNews that the government should be commended for taking cyber intelligence seriously, but the recruit process has to take in practical considerations. As an expert in the field, the source asserted that the real talents have always been in the private sector. Those who have qualifications as a government employee and a certified IT security specialist are very few. He further added that the NSB has to be flexible in the application process in order to achieve its original aim of establishing a functioning cyber unit.

As the world becomes more connected, the NSB may have to evolve in order to carry out its role as the safeguard of Taiwan’s national security. Presently, the most capable IT security teams employed by the government are the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau and the Ninth Investigation Corp of the Criminal Investigation Bureau. The success of the NSB’s cyber division will depend on making the necessary adjustments to the hiring process as to fit the reality of the country’s current HR market. Only then would the agency get the talents and expertise it needs about the latest hacker threats.