Smart machines v hackers: How cyber warfare is escalating

Smart machines are helping businesses defend themselves against hackers
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There is a gaping hole in the digital defences that companies use to keep out cyber thieves.

The hole is the global shortage of skilled staff that keeps security hardware running, analyses threats and kicks out intruders.

Currently, the global security industry is lacking about one million trained workers, suggests research by ISC2 – the industry body for security professionals. The deficit looks set to grow to 1.8 million within five years, it believes.

The shortfall is widely recognized and gives rise to other problems, says Ian Glover, head of Crest – the UK body that certifies the skills of ethical hackers.

“The scarcity is driving an increase in costs,” he says. “Undoubtedly there’s an impact because businesses are trying to buy a scarce resource.

“And it might mean companies are not getting the right people because they are desperate to find somebody to fill a role.”

While many nations have taken steps to attract people into the security industry, Mr. Glover warns that those efforts will not be enough to close the gap.

Help has to come from another source: machines.

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“If you look at the increase in automation of attack tools then you need to have an increase in automation in the tools we use to defend ourselves,” he says.

SwissCognitive Logo‘Drowning’ in data

That move towards more automation is already under way, says Peter Woollacott, founder and chief executive of Sydney-based Huntsman Security, adding that the change was long overdue. For too long, security has been a “hand-rolled” exercise, he says.

That is a problem when the analysts expected to defend companies are “drowning” in data generated by firewalls, PCs, intrusion detection systems and all the other appliances they have bought and installed, he says.

Automation is nothing new, says Oliver Tavakoli, chief technology officer at security firm […]

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