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Security industry echoes NAO concerns over UK's cyber skills shortage

12 Feb 2013

Industry experts have joined the National Audit Office's call for the UK cyber strategy to do more to train the next generation in cyber security.

James Lyne, director of technology strategy at Sophos, told V3 that while the cyber strategy has had some success combating cyber fraud it is still missing the big picture.

"I've been involved in a few cases where fraud websites or operations have been suppressed. I've undoubtedly noticed an increased responsiveness, clarity of process and willingness for industry and government to work together to make life harder for cyber criminals," Lyne told V3.

"That said, we see over 250,000 new pieces of malware a day and a new infected website every few seconds - so there is clearly a great deal more work to be done."

Lyne's comments mirror the sentiment of the National Audit Office, which earlier warned the number of IT security professionals in the UK has not kept pace with the burgeoning threats facing the country.

The NAO claimed cybercrime is now costing the country up to £27bn per year.

Lyne said that the UK government must ensure IT tuition must begin at the earliest stages of the education system if it hopes to reverse the trend.

"Initiatives like the UK Cyber Security Challenge have provided an alternative channel to identify talent, but more fundamental revisions to the curriculum are required," Lyne told V3.

"In addition to providing opportunities for university leavers, developing research capabilities and higher education teaching standards, it is really important that these investments make their way to younger children to increase the funnel of people entering this key subject in the first place."

Trend Micro security director, Rik Ferguson, said the skills gap has emerged because of young people's perception of the cyber security industry.

"They must make an effort to make computer science attractive in schools - to both girls and boys - perhaps this time of curriculum review offers a perfect opportunity," said Ferguson

"Universities too need to offer specialised information security courses as well as integrating infosec modules into qualifications such as MBA, for the CIO of tomorrow."

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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