The cybersecurity industry is in an arms race, and the top resource in demand is talent. Experts predict a shortage of 1.5 million security positions by 2020. In the face of an increasingly large and talented network of cybercriminals on the Dark Web — with more and more joining every day — this is a shortage that we as an industry can’t afford.

Security has evolved into a core issue for business and society, costing the global economy $445 billion annually. No longer are just current computer scientists and researchers being enlisted to fight expanding cybercrime rings. The next generation of security workers will have to step in, and they need to possess a broad set of skills and fill roles ranging from product designers to risk consultants and policymakers.

To truly defend against attackers, our industry needs to equip itself with the best and brightest. This means getting women in security. Currently, women represent only 11 percent of the security workforce. Recruiting and fostering more women in security presents an enormous opportunity to fill the growing talent gap, as well as bring to bear a more diverse set of skills to fight against new threats.

Closing the Skills and Gender Gap

As security professionals, we must take an active part in driving this change. Today, I’ll be speaking at New York University’s Symposium on Women in Cybersecurity, which is aimed at educating, training and encouraging more women to join the security workforce. By teaming up with such an esteemed academic institution, we’re focused on building awareness of the opportunities that exist in security for women of all backgrounds: from high schoolers deciding on a career path to seasoned professionals in other industries who have acumen that can be put to use in security.

Partnering with educators to attract a diverse workforce is critical, but the collaboration to solve the skills gap can’t end there. Security education, such as advanced training on technologies and strategies to fight modern-day threats, must evolve to keep up with the ever-accelerating pace of attackers.

Getting Women in Security

To that end, IBM recently launched new university programs with the Rochester Institute of Technology and Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore to prepare students for careers in security through hands-on training with IBM tools in new, cutting-edge security research and operations centers. Working with advanced technologies such as analytics and threat intelligence will help burgeoning security professionals learn how to think on even greater levels than the most successful cybercriminals. They’ll also prepare to collect and analyze data on emerging global attacks to uncover and stop them before they inflict damage.

Attracting a more diverse workforce and equipping educators with modern training and tools are two key stepping stones to overcome the security skills gap that is crippling the industry in the fight against cybercrime. All security providers must be committed to helping overcome these challenges and build the cybersecurity workforce of the future.

More from Intelligence & Analytics

Email campaigns leverage updated DBatLoader to deliver RATs, stealers

11 min read - IBM X-Force has identified new capabilities in DBatLoader malware samples delivered in recent email campaigns, signaling a heightened risk of infection from commodity malware families associated with DBatLoader activity. X-Force has observed nearly two dozen email campaigns since late June leveraging the updated DBatLoader loader to deliver payloads such as Remcos, Warzone, Formbook, and AgentTesla. DBatLoader malware has been used since 2020 by cybercriminals to install commodity malware remote access Trojans (RATs) and infostealers, primarily via malicious spam (malspam). DBatLoader…

New Hive0117 phishing campaign imitates conscription summons to deliver DarkWatchman malware

8 min read - IBM X-Force uncovered a new phishing campaign likely conducted by Hive0117 delivering the fileless malware DarkWatchman, directed at individuals associated with major energy, finance, transport, and software security industries based in Russia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Estonia. DarkWatchman malware is capable of keylogging, collecting system information, and deploying secondary payloads. Imitating official correspondence from the Russian government in phishing emails aligns with previous Hive0117 campaigns delivering DarkWatchman malware, and shows a possible significant effort to induce a sense of urgency as…

X-Force releases detection & response framework for managed file transfer software

5 min read - How AI can help defenders scale detection guidance for enterprise software tools If we look back at mass exploitation events that shook the security industry like Log4j, Atlassian, and Microsoft Exchange when these solutions were actively being exploited by attackers, the exploits may have been associated with a different CVE, but the detection and response guidance being released by the various security vendors had many similarities (e.g., Log4shell vs. Log4j2 vs. MOVEit vs. Spring4Shell vs. Microsoft Exchange vs. ProxyShell vs.…

Unmasking hypnotized AI: The hidden risks of large language models

11 min read - The emergence of Large Language Models (LLMs) is redefining how cybersecurity teams and cybercriminals operate. As security teams leverage the capabilities of generative AI to bring more simplicity and speed into their operations, it's important we recognize that cybercriminals are seeking the same benefits. LLMs are a new type of attack surface poised to make certain types of attacks easier, more cost-effective, and even more persistent. In a bid to explore security risks posed by these innovations, we attempted to…