For the governments and corporations facing increasing computer attacks, the biggest challenge is finding the right cyber warriors to fight back.
Hostile computer activity from spies, saboteurs, competitors and criminals has spawned a growing industry of corporate defenders who can attract the best talent from government cyber units.
The U.S. military’s Cyber Command is due to quadruple in size by 2015 with 4,000 new personnel while Britain announced a new Joint Cyber Reserve last month. From Brazil to Indonesia, similar forces have been set up.
But demand for specialists has far outpaced the number of those qualified to do the job, leading to a staffing crunch as talent is poached by competitors offering big salaries.
“As with anything, it really comes down to human capital and there simply isn’t enough of it,” says Chris Finan, White House director for cyber security from 2011-12, who is now a senior fellow at the Truman National Security Project and working for a start-up in Silicon Valley.
“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.”
Cyber attacks can be expensive: one unidentified London-listed company incurred losses of 800 million pounds ($1.29 billion) in a cyber attack several years ago, according to the British security services.
Global losses are in the range of $80 billion to $400 billion a year, according to…