The now-dead Cybersecurity Act of 2012 included provisions to beef up a federal workforce of experts to defend against cyberattacks. But it's not too late. Wisely, federal agencies are not waiting for legislation to build their cyber geek squads. Still, more steps must be taken.
James Brooks, Kodiak Daily Mirror/AP
Finding enough qualified men and women to protect America’s cyber networks stands as one of the central challenges to America’s cybersecurity. Even in the computer age, people are essential. In the field of cybersecurity, they are also lacking.
Cybersecurity breaches cost America billions of dollars a year. Meanwhile, cyberattacks on America’s critical infrastructure increased 17-fold between 2009 and 2011. To defend the cybersecurity of both private businesses and government agencies, it is time for a serious geek surge.
Right now the lack of qualified cyber experts is hamstringing US efforts to secure cyberspace. Last month, Jeff Moss, a prominent hacking expert who sits on the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council, told a Reuters conference, “None of the projections look positive… The numbers I’ve seen look like shortages in the 20,000s to 40,000s for years to come.” A study earlier this year by industry group (ISC)2 found that 83 percent of federal hiring managers surveyed said it was extremely difficult to find and hire qualified candidates for cybersecurity jobs.