Teaching the next generation of cyber security specialists

The threat of cybercrime has moved from attacks on individuals to full-scale war in the shadowy corners of the Internet. With every major incident comes a suspicion that teams of hackers are being financed by national governments to carry out attacks.

Many experts now believe that the early stages of future wars will be conducted online as hackers take out key national infrastructure like power grids, banks and core government systems. With key information systems compromised, defences grind to a halt, making it much easier for an invading army to win battles.

A cyber security skills shortage

Governments across the world have a problem when trying to deal with cyber warfare – a severe skills shortage. There is simply not enough cyber security specialists to properly defend against attacks from other countries.

Although cyber security is a relatively new field of expertise, not enough people are being trained each year. And those who are typically go on to get well paid jobs in the private sector.

Training the next generation

To help develop a “pipeline of talent”, the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sports has developed a new pilot program for schools. Under the plan, up to 5,700 students will spend up to four hours every week learning about cyber security and defence using “real world challenges”.

The pilot is expected to last five years, and to include work experience to help students put what they learn into context. The government has set aside £20 million to fund extra curricular clubs, on top of the funding already provided for promising university students, and a new apprenticeship scheme for people aged 16+.

Cyber security training for students – a logical idea

National cyber security is facing a crisis. The current crop of security experts are already fully employed, and there simply aren’t enough IT professionals willing or able to cross-train.

The longer term solution is to develop new specialists from scratch by attracting the brightest individuals when they are still at school. In this way the government can prepare these students for a productive career in cyber security as soon as they leave school. This means that the country is building a steady flow of skilled IT defence specialists to provide defences into the future too.

Until this next generation is trained however, the UK remains at risk of attack from hostile bodies. British citizens can do their bit to help out however. By protecting their own systems and data from being compromised by hackers, they reduce the potential for their computer becoming part of a botnet or DDoS attack against the UK.

Whether you want to be a cyber security expert or not, you can do your bit right now. Simply download and try Panda Protection, and your system will instantly be much safer – and you won’t even need any special training either!