Cyberskills gap ‘a threat to security’

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A DEARTH of skilled workers is hampering Britain’s ability to protect itself from costly internet attacks and it could take two decades to fill the gap.

The number of IT and cyber-security professionals in the UK has not increased in line with the growth of the internet, spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) said.

Government, education and business representatives told the NAO that the country lacks technical skills and the current pipeline of graduates will not meet demand.

The cost of cyber crime to Britain is currently thought to be up to £27 billion a year, while the government previously pledged £650 million in additional funding to its National Cyber Security Programme.

NAO head Amyas Morse said: “The threat to cyber security is persistent and continually evolving.”

The government’s strategy has already started to deliver benefits, the NAO said, with the Serious Organised Crime Agency catching more than 2.3 million compromised debit or credit cards since 2011, preventing a potential loss of more than £500m.

The current and future skills gap includes a need for psychologists and law enforcers, as well as technical staff, the NAO said.