09 Oct 2013

Japan in Dire Need of Cyber Security Pros

Japan is looking to hire 80,000 information security professionals and further train the ones already employed to better protect key Japanese infrastructure, The Mainichi news agency reports.

A government panel of information security pros met in June to discuss data security. To better the nation’s chances of efficiently fighting cybercrime, Japan needs another 80,000 IT professionals and to further train some 160,000 of the 265,000 existing employees in the field.  

The proposed long-term strategy urges schools and universities to align their curricula to the increasing demand of information engineers and help students acquire the necessary skills to understand and fight cyber threats, be they state-orchestrated or run by various hacker groups.

In the meantime, the government is organizing competitions and training camps to search for fresh talents. The “security camps” are organized by the Information-Technology Promotion Agency (IPA) overseen by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Masahiro Uemura, head of the Information Security Policy Section at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said "it is essential to have young hackers with initiative to cope with sophisticated (cyber)attacks."

"Existing programs can by no means cover the shortage" of information security engineers, said Hidehiko Tanaka, president of the Institute of Information Security, a private graduate school.

"The government should spearhead efforts to nurture talented engineers and increase the jobs available for them," he added. "It is necessary to create more opportunities for such hackers to work and widen their appeal."

The UK is another country that takes cyber threats seriously, having the entire British financial ecosystem taking cyber-security stress tests to assess their strengths and weaknesses. This initiative is part of the action plan of the financial industry to the numerous direct attacks against banks, stock market and providers of online payment services.