Tech firms must find ways to recruit more tech-savvy young people to help them face down the growing threat of cybercrime, internet security firm Kaspersky Lab has said.
The anti-virus software company has warned that the industry is failing to attract under-25s, and should concentrate on setting out a clear career path for young hackers who have the potential to hone their skills and use them to serve society.
In a survey of IT professionals and consumers from Europe and the US, Kaspersky Lab found that 57% of under-25s think of hacking as “impressive” skill, and that 31% of the age group already have some skills in the area, such as the ability to hide their IP address.
Despite this, only 27% of under-25s have ever considered a career in cyber security, with many admitting they would rather use their hacking abilities for fun, “secretive activities”, or financial gain, the poll found.
“Organised cybercrime is no longer just a boardroom headache; it’s increasingly a very personal one, which threatens to disrupt, and potentially embarrass, private individuals in their homes,” commented Kaspersky’s Kirill Slavin.
“As recent attacks on Sony Entertainment and Ashley Madison highlight, where very private data was made public, cybercrime threatens to tear at the heart of both public and private life if it is not addressed.
“Yet, our research demonstrates three things: a desperate skills shortage in information security, the ability of young people to step into the breach, and a failure of industry to let those young people take those first steps.”
In its 2016 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA), which was released last month, Europol warned that cybercrime is rising sharply.
“The volume, scope and material cost of cybercrime all remain on an upward trend and have reached very high levels,” the report said.
Europol highlighted a number of emerging trends, such as a rise in the use of ransomware, the sale of illicit goods including weapons on the dark web, and a growing number of hackers offering Cybercrime-as-a-Service packages to other criminals and militant groups.
According to Kaspersky Lab, young people with a high degree of computer literacy are the key to fighting these growing threats. The company says the technology sector must find a way to persuade under-25s who have hacking skills to join the fight against cybercrime and use their abilities for good.
Last week’s massive DDoS attack, which brought down some of the internet’s largest websites, demonstrated how hackers could potentially knock out critical web-based infrastructure, be they state-sponsored or independent actors. In a signal of just how seriously world authorities are taking the growing threat posed by these types of attack, the US Department of Homeland Security has said it is developing a new set of “strategic principles” for securing the types of connected devices that are used in them.