Computer experts have warned that the UK faces a two decade long period of ineffective cyber defences as the country struggles to plug a skills gap of trained IT specialists to manage existing infrastructure.
A National Audit Office report has called for a generational shift in attitudes to the threat by teaching a new generation of school kids in the hope of delivering the IT specialists necessary to police computer networks from the threat posed by hackers, enemy states and criminals.
In 2011 the UJ suffered a total of 44m cyber-attacks costing the nation upwards of £27bn to protect critical systems such as the emergency services, communications, transport and utilities.
The report found that the number of IT specialists working in the UK had not increased in line with expansion of the internet, leading to a diminution of the state’s ability to protect itself.
It noted: “Those we interviewed from academia considered that it would take up to 20 years to address the skills gap at all levels of education.”