Over the last few years there have been an increasing number of cyber security attacks and this growth is set to continue. Whilst all business sectors need to step up their cyber security operations, there are five sectors that are particularly vulnerable. Any organisation within one of these should make more cyber security jobs available in order to combat an increasing security threat.
In 2015, the healthcare sector experienced an increase in cyber crime, particularly in the United States. Raytheon, a cyber security company, produced a report based on security incident data in healthcare organisations. It found that there was a 340% increase in security threats in 2015 for this sector. Many of these incidents involved stealing or encrypting files then demanding a ransom to release them.
The probable reason that the healthcare sector is vulnerable is due to the lack of IT funding. This will change in the National Health Service as the government has announced that £4bn has been budgeted for improving and replacing IT systems. A quarter (£1bn) of that money is to fund cyber security, which will increase the number of cyber security personnel needed by the NHS.
There has been an increase in the number of cyber-attacks by terrorists and other militant organisations in the Middle East. Often, these are aimed at a country’s infrastructure. The media has reported that state-sponsored attacks have been made particularly on the US infrastructure, notably by the Chinese and Russians.
Britain’s infrastructure that is vulnerable includes airports, hospitals, military installations and defence systems. Attacks have also occurred on utility company systems, including power plants and water treatment plants. Threats have been made on manufacturers who use computer controlled systems.
If the IT systems of Britain’s infrastructure are attacked, then this causes major disruption to the nation. Without adequate transport systems and utility supplies, life in Britain would almost grind to a halt.
In response to the threat, the government is doubling its funding of cyber-crime to £1.9bn over the next five years, and this means the creation of more cyber security jobs.
Cyber security personnel, who work in critical infrastructure sectors, need to communicate and share knowledge about threats and vulnerabilities so that there is a combined effort to combat cyber terrorists.
The cyber crime that many people fear is financial crime and identity theft that is targeted at credit card accounts and online banking. Though any money that goes missing from an account is usually reimbursed by the banks or the credit card companies, customers experience a high level of stress and inconvenience if their credit card needs to be replaced or they temporally lose access to their online banking facility.
Due to a high level of public concern, banks and financial institutions have introduced stricter security measures designed to prevent unauthorised access to accounts. Banks are also looking at fingerprint and other biometric devices to establish a person’s identity. The use by iPhones of fingerprint readers is an example of identity verification that shows that biometric technology is a practical alternative to entering passwords.
All these extra security systems introduced by financial organisations will mean that more security personnel need to be recruited.
4. The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a term used to describe systems that connect objects to each other. For example, in the home, a smart thermometer, the lights and the house security system can be connected on one internet-enabled network with the whole system being controlled remotely by a smartphone app.
These objects contain sensors that send data over the internet. Not all of these gadgets have been developed with robust security systems and are a security risk. Without adequate security, there is the nightmare scenario of a thief opening a house door and bypassing an alarm system by simply using a smartphone hacking app. More security personnel are needed to tackle this issue.
Another area of concern is wearable gadgets such as smart watches and health monitors. These collect a lot of personal information and, as yet, there has not been an emphasis on security for these devices.
Cars increasingly are equipped with high-tech systems, but it has been recently demonstrated that hackers can literally take over a car’s controls if the onboard systems are not secure.
There are plans for roads to become smarter, with built-in chargers to charge electric vehicles as they travel, and streetlights that only switch on when an approaching vehicle is detected.
One vision of the future is one where almost every object that we own or travel past is connected to one gigantic network. Whilst this scenario is perhaps a long way off, as more and more gadgets become part of a computer network, there will be the need for extra cyber security personnel to deal with the security implications.
The Internet of Things could make life better for users, but it could also provide fresh opportunities for cyber criminals.
5. Cyber security itself
All the experts that look at the issue of cyber crime predict that it will increase, and this will mean a growth in cyber security companies. As well as virus protection companies such as MacAfee and Norton, there are many companies that provide cyber security systems for businesses and organisations.
A European Commission survey found that 35% of British cyber security businesses have increased their turnover by at least 25% over the past five years. An estimated 352,000 people are employed in this sector, and this is expected to increase as security companies respond to the increased cyber security threat.
These are just five major business sectors that need to make more cyber security jobs available. Cyber criminals are not particular; they will target any business sector where they can make a profit or cause damage. This means that all organisations should consider improving their cyber security systems and creating more cyber security jobs.