There’s a shortage computer hackers willing to fight back against cyber criminals on behalf of government and businesses, a former White House security chief has warned.
“As with anything, it really comes down to human capital and there simply isn’t enough of it,” Chris Finan, White House director for cyber security from 2011-12 told Reuters.
“They will choose where they work based on salary, lifestyle and the lack of an interfering bureaucracy and that makes it particularly hard to get them into government,” he added.
Finan is now senior fellow at the Truman National Security Project, an organisation that aims to train “a new generation of progressives across America to lead on cyber security”.
His comments come as governments across the world attempt to tackle the increasing threat of cyber crime, as hackers commit misdeeds ranging from cyber-espionage or theft of financial assets, to knocking out whole computer networks be it for profit or for the thrill.
Many organisations are, at least publicly, reluctant to hire reformed computer hackers to protect against cyber threats. That policy, however, is akin to an organisation shooting itself in the foot one expert recently told Computing.
“I’ll tell you this much: the best people I know, every single one of them has broken a computer law,” said Robert Hansen, director of product management for security firm WhiteHat Security.
He argued big business should therefore take the opportunity to hire a reformed hacker, as they’ll be able to assist with preventing the company from being a victim of cyber crime.
“If you intentionally do it then at least it’s on the table and they can do the things they need to do to help you,” he said.
Just last month, the Ministry of Defence announced plans to recruit hundreds of computer experts to form a new Joint Cyber Reserve, a unit dedicated to defending t against cyber threats and, if required, strike against the UK’s cyber enemies.
“The cyber reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyberspace.
This is an exciting opportunity for internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities,” said Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.