Experts warn on critical shortage of cybercrime specialists

Experts warned of a critical shortage of global specialists trained for malicious cyber security threats.

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Experts warned at a conference in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday of a critical shortage of global specialists trained to confront increasingly malicious cyber security threats.

“Some reports say that we have globally less than 1,000 people who are truly qualified, whereas we need over 30,000 to address the problem,” said Mark Goodwin, of Virginia Tech University in the United States.

“What we’re seeing is cyber espionage and cyber sabotage that warrants that we have increasingly skilled people to address this threat,” said Goodwin, deputy director of a university program that aims to address the shortage.

His comments were made at a symposium on command and control and countersecurity organized by King Saud University with the interior ministry.

“We need a national framework for capacity building,” Saleh Ibrahim al-Motairi, general director of the kingdom’s new National Cybersecurity Centre, told the same forum.

“Human resources are the most important element and technology is number two,” said Motairi, whose center will start operations towards the end of this year.

It would try to further knowledge about cybercrime, Motairi said.

“We need capacity building and this is one of the main challenges that we face in the kingdom and the region,” said Abdul Rahman al-Muagle, Information Technology manager at the Saudi Aramco oil company.

The experts’ call comes after an attack on France’s TV5Monde this month showed the growing impact of cyber-attacks.

The hack, claimed by Islamic State group jihadists, shut the global network’s transmissions and website.

In 2012, Saudi Aramco became the victim of a damaging malware assault which US intelligence officials believed was linked to Iran.

There is “growing complexity” to the maneuvers of cyber attackers, which reflects the need for effective intelligence, Gregoire Germain, director of information technology and security at French company Thales, told the forum.

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