The next arms race is on and the governments involved are speeding to amass the expensive weaponry of 21st century battle — hackers.
No one, it seems, has enough and acquiring the cyber-security talent capable to conduct offensive and defensive operations is sending salaries for hackers through the roof, according to recent reports.
The most frequently quoted accounts of the shortfall come from Jim Gosler, a veteran cyber-security specialist and former official of the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Department of Energy. In 2008 Gosler estimated that the United States needed between 20,000 and 30,000 technicians with the requisite skills to defend cyberspace. At the time, he said there were about 1,000. Most security experts say the number still holds at about 1,000, a 97 percent shortfall.
John Bassett, associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London and a former senior official at Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), told Reuters yesterday “There is absolutely not enough of them, you need an order of magnitude… more than we have at the moment.”
The same 1,000 hackers are just recruited and poached from one agency or contractor to another, Allan Paller, Research Director of the SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security (SANS) Institute, told NPR for a story on the topic last year.