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Here's What It's Like: Up Close and Personal


Graphic including photograph of Special Agent Chad H.Special Agent Chad H. is just back from a fascinating meeting in England with international law enforcement officers to coordinate efforts related to a large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack scheme. He joined the FBI after 12 years of private industry computer experience and has been a member of a field Cyber Squad for a year. He just loves the work—read on to see why.

Q: What are the most exciting things you've done/cases you've worked on to date?
If you want heart-pumping excitement, that happens when you're participating in arrests and searches. But there's another even finer kind of excitement in the everyday work: out-witting and out-thinking the subjects who are committing crimes via the Internet. They're anonymous online, so the chase is really on when you follow the trail of clues and evidence that ultimately reveals their identity...and ties them to the crime.

Examples? I've helped locate a person making Internet-based death threats before the threats were carried out. I've worked on DDoS attacks that were crippling online companies. I've investigated copyright violation cases aimed at disrupting Warez groups. I've also helped identify hackers and prove they were hacking into large corporate systems.

Q: Can you tell me what a typical working day is like?
*laugh* So far, I haven't had a "typical" day, which is one of best parts of the job. On any given day I might surveil individuals allegedly violating copyright laws, conduct victim interviews, review forensic computer evidence, debrief cooperating witness, participate in a search...or an arrest. On other days I might meet with one of our Assistant United States Attorneys to review a case, prepare a search warrant, or document my cases.

Q: Any advice to prospective FBI recruits?
Please apply if you are technically talented! Cyber crime is increasing at an astonishing rate, and we urgently need people with the skills to contain it. Consider how rewarding it could be at this explosive stage of technology to actually have an impact on protecting people from online criminals...and on stopping terrorist plots cold.

Otherwise, once on board, be prepared to be flexible, to roll with changes and adapt as necessary. Brush up your skills in perseverance and patience. Don't forget to bring a can-do attitude along with you and be willing to pitch right in on whatever work you're given. For me, I'll say this: it's been a thrill bringing my computer skills to the FBI and knowing I've made a difference in my first year.

Link: Do it: Apply to become a Special Agent