3rd of UK firms would hire ex-hackers to plug security skills gap

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One third of firms polled in a recent survey said they would consider employing ex-hackers to make up for a crippling security skills shortfall.

The study carried out at SecureData’s customer conference in London found 97 percent think data security is critical to modern cyber strategy.

Other results hint at widespread concerns over security across the industry.

Some 80 percent of those surveyed said they responded to threats in-house, but only eight percent felt they could analyze the threat themselves.

Ninety-two percent said they are in the process of adopting cutting edge cyber defenses, while 33 percent said full adoption is up to a year away and 36 percent that it could take up to five years to be fully secure.

SecureData CEO Etienne Greeff told Information Age it is understandable many firms are looking to recruit ex-hackers.

The IT security skills shortage isn’t a new debate, but it has now reached a point where it’s critical for businesses to think like the bad guys to stay one step ahead,” Greeff argued.

In a world where every business is a digital business and no industry is safe from cyber-attacks, it’s unsurprising that everyone is chasing the huge benefits of smarter security,” he added.

Some hackers are in demand not by firms to improve security, but by governments who want to get control of their toolset.

Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) had its case against a hacker overturned on Tuesday in a UK court after it tried to get access to his encryption keys.

Laurie Love was accused of taking part in a string of protest cyber attacks in the US, but Judge Nina Tempia said she was not persuaded by the NCA’s argument that he should be forced to provide the encryption keys to his computers.

Love still faces extradition and a possible 99-year prison sentence in the US over allegations he and others hacked and damaged US networks.