Cyber-attacks increase leads to jobs boom

Cybersecurity graphic There is going to be a very high demand for cybersecurity workers

Every cloud has a silicon lining.

As the number and sophistication of cyber-attacks increase, so too does the demand for people who can prevent such digital incursions. Cyber-security is having a jobs boom.

But there aren't enough people with the necessary skills to become the next generation of cyber-cops.

According to the most recent US Bureau of Labor statistics, demand for graduate-level information security workers will rise by 37% in the next decade, more than twice the predicted rate of increase for the overall computer industry.

"Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high," forecasts the US Department of Labor.

In response, private sector firms and governments have been hurrying to work with universities to fill the gap.

This includes an ambitious project by IBM to create a partnership of 200 universities to produce the missing expertise.

As well as US universities, this talent-raising project is involving students in Singapore, Malaysia, Germany and Poland.

Global battle

Marisa Viveros, IBM's vice-president for cyber-security innovation, says it is a response to a changing "threat landscape".

The increase in cloud and mobile computing has introduced more risk, she says. And there are more complex attacks being attempted than ever before.

Cyber security drill Japanese officials carried out a cyber-security drill last week to test their response

"It's no longer about if an attack is going to happen, but when it's going to happen," she says.

Setting up a global university network with a wide range of skills, she says, is a natural response to a globalised problem.

The students trained in cyber-security will enter a relentless battle, says Ms Viveros.

Even before online products have been launched, there are attempts to hack them. And even relief funds for humanitarian disasters, such as earthquakes or typhoons, are under threat from hackers trying to steal donations, she says.

Mark Harris, an assistant professor at one of the participating universities, the University of Southern Carolina, says there has been a surge of student interest in cyber-security courses - not least because they stand a good chance of getting a job.

University threats

But Dr Harris says that it's also going to be a challenge for universities to keep up with the pace of change.

"Textbooks on the subject are out of date before they're published," he said.

According to the most recent monitoring report from IBM on the current levels of cyber-attacks, universities could do with some extra security themselves.

It shows that education faces a higher proportion of cyber-attacks than retail, consumer products or telecommunications.

Harvard's website Harvard's website was hacked by the "Syrian Electronic Army"

The only areas with more attacks than education are governments, computer services, financial institutions and media firms.

When there are attacks it can affect large numbers of people. Last month the University of Maryland faced what it called a "sophisticated cyber-attack" which breached the records of more than 287,000 present and past students.

Shadow world

It's a shadowy parallel world - and adding to the slightly sci-fi sense of unseen danger, IBM has its own "X-Force" to monitor the latest threats.

According to its latest report, the X-Force Threat Intelligence Quarterly, half a billion individual records, such as emails or credit card passwords, were leaked last year.

The latest trends include "malvertising", where online advertising can be used to launch malicious attacks on computer users.

It warns of "drive-by downloads", where a browsing reader can accidentally download rogue computer programs.

There is also "spear phishing", where specific individuals or organisations are targeted with fake emails to obtain confidential information.

The report says that about one in 20 attacks uses the so-called "watering hole" strategy.

Rather than trying to break into an organisation's network directly, this targets other websites where people might regularly visit, with the aim of infecting their computers and trying to get the unwitting carrier to bring a virus back into their own network.

Dr Harris, at the University of South Carolina, says attackers are creating ever more complex threats.

"I've seen the level of sophistication grow. They're spending months working on a strategy, finding weak links, using external sites, looking for a back door."

"It's like a race," says IBM's Ms Viveros. "The system gets better, then the hackers understand it and they try to catch up.

S. Korea's Cyber Terror Response Center Cyber-warfare is a new frontline: South Korea's Cyber Terror Response Center

"It's going to carry on being a problem."

Catching up

Not least because computer technology is central to so many places, such as financial markets, defence, health industries, energy supplies and the media.

"It's inside your business, inside your home," says Dr Harris.

An attack on such essential infrastructure would have profound implications. But there is no quick fix, according to the UK's spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, which last month warned it could take another 20 years to tackle the skills gap in trained cyber-security staff.

There has been a huge growth in undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in the UK related to cyber-security, including so-called "ethical hacking", where students try to penetrate computer networks in order to reveal weaknesses in their defence.

And the UK government wants cyber-security to be "integral to education at all ages", announcing this month that there would be lessons for pupils from the age of 11 and plans for cyber-security apprenticeships.

Does all this scrambling for training mean that we should be worried about the cyber-threats?

"I know enough about this to be scared," says Dr Harris.

More on This Story

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    UK migration Via Email Mansawi L. Macabunar, from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

    writes in with: "Hi, I just want to answer the questions below based on my knowledge and reading." and gives the answers of Ireland, The most immigrants in UK during 1985; China, The most immigrants in UK during 2013.

     
  2.  
    12:24: East Coast sale

    David from Hexham, Northumberland emails: "Ordinarily, I am an advocate of privatisation and free market competition. However, I have woken up to this news this morning feeling incensed. Perhaps it is the truly traumatic experience I had with Virgin trains staff at Euston station last month, or that when I travel East Coast I know that no matter the delay I will be "repaid" and most importantly I will arrive at my destination. Today is a very sad day for frequent East Coast travellers."

     
  3.  
    12:20: Contaminated chicken

    Here's how UK supermarkets fared in the FSA's test:

    Chicken
     
  4.  
    12:16: Contaminated chicken

    Some background on Campylobachter. It is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK, responsible for 280,000 cases a year, and around 100 deaths.

     
  5.  
    12:15: Contaminated chicken

    More than 70% of fresh chickens being sold in the UK are contaminated with the Campylobachter bug, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed. That figure is higher than in previous tests, which suggested a 59% contamination rate. The highest rate was found in chickens being sold by Asda.

    fresh chicken
     
  6.  
    12:10: Scottish powers Robert Peston Economics editor

    blogs: "No Chancellor of the Exchequer would want to give a Scottish finance minister complete discretion to borrow, because it is almost impossible to conceive of how Scottish sovereign debt would not be guaranteed in theory or practice by Westminster: the chancellor would be terrified of what Holyrood would do it if had his credit card."

     
  7.  
    Via Twitter Dave Lee Technology reporter, BBC News

    tweets: "Euro Parl has no power to force Google split - but it's a strong and influential message to the regulators, who most certainly do."

     
  8.  
    Via Twitter Dave Lee Technology reporter, BBC News

    tweets: "AFP: European Parliament votes to split up Google"

     
  9.  
    12:00: Future of the eurozone
  10.  
    11:55: Future of the eurozone
    Draghi

    The president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has been speaking at the University of Helsinki. Talking about the stability of the eurozone, he says countries "have to be better off inside than they would be outside". He adds: "If there are parts of the euro area that are worse off inside the Union, doubts may grow about whether they might ultimately have to leave. And if one country can potentially leave the monetary union, then this creates a replicable precedent for all countries."

     
  11.  
    11:40: Falling oil price
    Ali al-Naimi

    The inimitable Andrew Walker has been having a lively exchange with the Saudi oil minister, Ali al Naimi, at the Opec meeting. After he was asked how much of a production cut it would take to stabilise the market, Mr al Naimi said "Go ask other Opec ministers, they will tell you. We will tell you that when we conclude this meeting."

    Andrew then asks: "What do you think is a good price for crude, minister?"

    Mr al Naimi: "You probably know better than I do - why do you ask me?"

    Andrew: "Because you are the one whose budget depends on it."

    Mr al Naimi: "Who says? You say so, I don't say it."

    Andrew: "But it's true isn't it?"

    Mr al Naimi: "Have I ever said it? Never!"

     
  12.  
    UK migration 11:24: Via Email Peter Williams from Dorset

    writes in next: "Hi, for 1985, I reckon that the most number of immigrants came from Indian sub-continent. For 2013 - my guess is Poland."

     
  13.  
    11:22: Falling oil price
    Ramirez

    Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela's minister for foreign affairs, has been speaking to the BBC's Andrew Walker at the Opec meeting. "Perhaps for the stabilisation it is important to withdraw two million barrels per day from the market," he says. Andrew asks him what Venezuela would contribute to that cut. "We are ready to make our contribution," responds Mr Ramirez.

     
  14.  
    UK migration 11:12: Via Email Bob Curtis from Cheltenham

    writes: "Without looking it up I would guess; 1 (1985) Australia, 2 (2013) France"

     
  15.  
    11:06: Eurozone lending

    Lending to eurozone households and businesses fell again in October, but at a slightly slower pace than in previous months, official figures show. That's despite the European Central Bank stepping up its efforts to get credit moving again in a bid to revive economic growth. Banks have continue to tightening lending terms because of tougher capital requirements and companies are still hording cash. Loans to private sector firms fell 1.1% in October compared to 1.2% in September.

     
  16.  
    UK migration Via Email

    OK, so we've had the first couple of attempts to answer the migration questions. And they've thrown up some interesting answers. Both need to be correct for you to be declared the winner and we'll reveal the answer before we finish up today. Our first answer comes from Adrian Bird in Bristol. who says 1985: Australia; 2013: China. Keep them coming folks

     
  17.  
    10:35: UK migration

    The ONS figures also show that 583,000 people moved to the UK last year. That's up 81,000 on the previous year (502,000). What that also means is about 3,000 fewer people left the UK for another country than the previous year - the net figure is up 78,000. The total number of people that left the UK in the year to June was 323,000, the ONS says.

     
  18.  
    Via Twitter Andrew Neil Presenter, The Daily Politics

    tweets: "Net migration rises to 260,000 which means it's now higher than Labour's last year. Tory promise to cut it now in shreds."

     
  19.  
    10:12: UK migration

    OK it's quiz time.

    Question 1: In 1985 which country accounted for the most immigrants to the UK?

    And we're going to stay with the theme for the next question but we're going to fast forward to 2013. So, question 2: In 2013, which country accounted for the most immigrants to the UK?

    Send your answers to bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or via Twitter to @bbcbusiness. Don't forget to tell us your name and where you are writing in from.

     
  20.  
    Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Scotland 2013: lowest net immigration of any nation/region, +2k out of 189k. Highest number of British citizens emigrating."

     
  21.  
    10:04: UK migration
    Interactive migration map

    The ONS has provided a rather interesting interactive map showing historic migration patterns to and from the UK around the world. It's quite fun and throws up some unusual information. We're going to delve in a little deeper in a moment, then we're going to throw some questions your way and test your migration knowledge.

     
  22.  
    10:02: East Coast sale Robert Drysdale, Edinburgh emails:

    "Very depressed to hear the news. Having travelled a lot recently on Virgin West Coast, the contrast between their level of customer service and that currently offered by East Coast is very obvious. East Coast trains have eight to 10 staff on board and there is always a train crew member available to help passengers, whereas on Virgin West Coast, the crew numbers are far less and you can often struggle to find anyone to assist."

     
  23.  
    UK migration Via Twitter Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: "Net migration now higher than when David Cameron became PM. No wonder he's got a very big speech to give. Ministers expect it tomorrow"

     
  24.  
    09:43: UK migration

    The ONS also reveals that 32,000 Romanians and Bulgarians immigrated to the UK in the year ending June 2014, up from from 18,000 in the previous 12 months. Restrictions on people from the two countries working in the UK were lifted on 1 January this year.

     
  25.  
    09:34: UK net migration

    The Office for National Statistics says net long-term migration to the UK (that's the amount of people coming in, minus the amount leaving these shores) was estimated to be 260,000 in the year to the end of June 2014. This is a "statistically significant increase" from the 182,000 in the previous 12 months, the ONS adds.

     
  26.  
    09:21: Energy blackouts BBC Radio 4

    Dr John Roberts is a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering, which has compiled a report for the prime minister on the dangers of power cuts in the UK. The report says power cuts could cost the economy billions of pounds. The main issue is that safety margins between peak electricity supply and demand have been falling after problems at a series of power stations. That makes power outages more likely, Dr Roberts told Today.

     
  27.  
    09:04: German unemployment

    Europe's largest economy saw a slight drop in unemployment in November, but the figure is unlikely to make much of an impression. Unemployment fell by 14,000, compared with a fall of 23,000 in October. It means the total number of those out of work fell to 2.87m from 2.89m. It also leaves the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.6% of the population eligible to work. None of which suggests the German economy is powering ahead, but given it only narrowly avoided a recession last week that should hardly come as a surprise.

     
  28.  
    08:54: Euronext failure

    European trading platform Euronext says a technical incident is affecting its data on cash and derivatives indexes and opening quotes are consequently being delayed. "We are currently addressing the root cause of this incident," it says in a statement. "Trading and order entry are allowed and market data dissemination is correct".

     
  29.  
    08:45: Fait accompli?

    A publishing glitch on Microsoft's blog appears to have accidentally revealed that the tech giant is buying up an email start-up called Acompli. An empty post was published on the site, but the URL was the giveaway - it contained the words "microsoft-acquires-acompli".

     
  30.  
    Via Twitter Jonah Hull, senior correspondent, Al Jazeera English
    Jonah Hull

    tweets: "#OPEC breakfast. This is what you get when the oil price falls below $80."

     
  31.  
    08:30: Vinyl record
    Vinyl

    More than one million vinyl records have been sold in the UK so far this year - the first time the milestone has been achieved since 1996, reports the BBC's Dave Lee. The Official Chart Company says it will soon launch a weekly vinyl chart.

     
  32.  
    08:22: Markets update

    Here's how the main European markets are looking in early trading:

    • In London, the FTSE 100 is down 0.1% at 6,721
    • In Frankfurt, the Dax is up 0.25% at 9,940
    • In Paris, the Cac is down 0.2% at 4,373
     
  33.  
    Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "Poundland shares up 3%. Company now valued at £800m."

     
  34.  
    08:12: East Coast sale BBC Radio 4

    "This was the best of the three bids," Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin tells the Today programme. He adds the Stagecoach/Virgin consortium known as ICR, is offering an increase in the premium that will be paid to the government. Asked if the consortium will paying more than the other bidders he replies "Oh yes". But he says services will also be improved - 23 more rail services will operate from Kings Cross. "We have seen a magnificent transformation on the railways in this country since privatisation."

     
  35.  
    08:05: Stagecoach shares

    Shares in Stagecoach are up more than 8% following the announcement that it won the East Coast rail franchise. Meanwhile, rivals FirstGroup are down 5.6%.

     
  36.  
    07:50: Poundland profits

    Discount retailer Poundland has reported a near 12% rise in pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of September - to £9.3m. The retail chain, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange in March, said its target was to open 60 new stores in the UK and Ireland next year. It added it was on track to open 10 stores in Spain by the end of 2016, with three already open.

     
  37.  
    07:46: East Coast sale
    Mick Cash

    The RMT trade union has come out all guns blazing. "It is a national disgrace and an act of utter betrayal that the government has confirmed that it is bulldozing ahead with the re-privatisation of the East Coast Main Line despite all the figures showing that the current public sector operator is handing over a billion pounds back to the British people while delivering huge improvements in service and customer satisfaction," says general secretary Mick Cash.

     
  38.  
    07:28: Mulberry finally bags new creative director
    A woman walks past a video display in the shop window of a Mulberry store in central London

    Luxury handbag maker Mulberry has finally completed its search for a new creative director. It comes 18 months after Emma Hill, the woman who helped make Mulberry a household name, departed following a row with the firm's then chief executive Bruno Guillon over "creative differences". Mr Guillon left in March after Mulberry issued three profit warnings. The new creative director is Johnny Coca, currently head of design direction at Céline. He joins Mulberry in July 2015.

     
  39.  
    07:24: East Coast sale

    ICR, as the consortium is being dubbed, is not an even partnership between Stagecoach and Virgin. The former holds 90% of the capital.

     
  40.  
    07:16: East Coast sale

    Inter City Railways says: "The company will shortly begin talks with Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation to agree its plans to run new direct services from London to Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Huddersfield".

     
  41.  
    07:12: East Coast sale

    "Over the next eight years Inter City Railways will pay the government around £3.3bn to operate the franchise."

     
  42.  
    07:10: East Coast sale

    Inter City Railways, as the Stagecoach/Virgin consortium is named, says the deal will bring 23 new services from London to key destinations, and 3,100 extra seats for the morning peak times by 2020.

     
  43.  
    07:00: East Coast sale

    A consortium made up of Stagecoach and Virgin has won the franchise to run the East Coast main line.

    East Coast
     
  44.  
    06:54: Rémy Cointreau
    Rémy Cointreau

    Cognac maker Rémy Cointreau reports a 15% drop in operating half-year profit, to €102m. The French group says it "remained adversely affected by evolving consumption patterns in China," by which it means that officials are having fewer Cognac-fuelled soirées.

     
  45.  
    06:50: Falling oil prices BBC Radio 4

    Speaking of balancing budgets, a number of analysts think Opec won't be able to reach an agreement on cutting oil production (which is needed to stop the supply surplus that is driving the oil price down) precisely because of a number of members have already done so - Iran has cut production by 1 million barrels a day as a result of international sanctions. Moreover, some members, such as Venezuela and Nigeria, simply can't afford to do so.

     
  46.  
    06:40: Tibetan tapestry
    Silk

    The latest entry in our Live Page series of artwork sold for exorbitant amounts is this 600-year-old Tibetan silk tapestry. It fetched $45m at an auction in Hong Kong - a record for art from the region. The good news is that the buyer will put the colourful thangka - which depicts the meditational deity Raktayamari, and was created during the Ming dynasty between 1402 and 1424 - on public display at a museum in Shanghai.

     
  47.  
    06:24: Falling oil prices
    Opec

    Here's an image that the delegates at Opec will be familiar with. It outlines the price per barrel of Brent crude oil that some states need to see in order to balance their budgets.

     
  48.  
    06:24: Falling oil price BBC Radio 4

    The main item on the agenda at the Opec meeting is the falling oil price, and what to do about it. BBC economics correspondent Andrew Walker says lower demand has pushed the price down, caused by a slowdown in industrial production in the eurozone and China. But US oil production - thanks to fracking - is also at its highest since 1986 and that is putting pressure on the price of Brent crude as well.

     
  49.  
    06:20: What is Opec?
    Opec

    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) is holding talks in Vienna later today, on how to address the 30% fall in crude oil prices since June. Our colleagues have put together a 60-second explainer that will tell you what the meeting is all about.

     
  50.  
    06:10: Thomas Cook Radio 5 live

    Anne Richards, chief investment officer at Aberdeen Asset Management, tells Wake Up to Money that Harriet Green's shock departure from Thomas Cook yesterday doesn't feel "pre-ordained", and as a large shareholder, her company will be asking for an explanation. Thomas Cook's share price slumped 17% following the news.

     
  51.  
    06:02: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Morning. We should also be getting details of who the East Coast Mainline is being sold to this morning too. According to the Mirror newspaper, the government has decided upon a French consortium which includes Kelios - ultimately owned by French state rail operator SNCF. Will bring you that announcement when it happens. As always get in touch via email at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on Twitter @bbcbusiness.

     
  52.  
    06:00: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    Good morning. A cross-party report is understood to have recommended giving the Scottish Parliament new powers to set income tax and control some welfare payments. The report was commissioned after David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg promised shortly before the independence referendum that Holyrood would be given new powers, if people voted to stay in the UK. Stay tuned for more details.

     

Features

  • How ebola spread graphicPatient zero

    Tracking first Ebola victim and how virus spread


  • A young Chinese girl looks at an image of BarbieBarbie's battle

    Can the doll make it in China at the second attempt?


  • Prosperi in the 1994 MdSLost in the desert

    How I drank bat blood and urine to survive in the Sahara


  • Afghan interpetersBlacklisted

    The Afghan interpreters left by the US to the mercy of the Taliban


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.