As IT security professionals struggle with the endemic problem of cyber crime – a growth industry that is constantly evolving in sophistication and is putting increasing strain on the world’s leading economies – an unlikely hero is emerging: the pothead.

While history shows that in the face of adversity, often the most unlikely heroes emerge, the idea of stoners saving the world is causing a bit of conniption in some circles.

The US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last month admitted that it is struggling with the realisation that many propeller heads are also potheads.

Reportedly, the agency is seeking to employ hackers to boost its cyber crime division, yet its policy dictates that it cannot hire anyone who’s smoked ganja in the past three years.

This cannabis conundrum was revealed by FBI director James Comey, who was addressing an audience at the White Collar Crime Institute. “I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals, and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” he was quoted as saying and added that the FBI is “grappling with the question right now”.

So while the bureau ponders the pros and cons of hiring those who enjoy a puff of the wacky tobacky, there would be some undeniable advantages to hiring stoners. For one, it would make for a very chilled office environment and, secondly, performance bonuses could be paid out in the form of potato chips, Oreos and pizza to keep the munchies at bay.

A sobering fact is that, according to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, cyber crime costs the global economy some $445 billion per year, with the biggest hit being taken by the world’s biggest economies. The study shows that the US, China, Japan and Germany alone suffer losses of some $200 billion a year.

So what have we got to lose? Perhaps we should send in the stoners.

And while it weighs up its marijuana malady, the FBI would do well to remember that many of the US’s most prominent politicians have publicly admitted to having enjoyed the odd pull on a blunt.

This lists includes such bigwigs as current president , former presidents (though he never inhaled – yeah, right!) and , current secretary of state y" rel=tag>John Kerry, and former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. Admittedly, Palin is a regrettable example – she appeared baked during most of her campaign as the Republican Party nominee for vice president in the 2008 presidential election.

On a serious note, in this issue we bring you the wrap-up of the ninth annual ITWeb Security Summit, which attracted more than 500 delegates and over 40 high-profile speakers.

Happy reading!