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Cybercrime fighters in short supply

Governments and corporations are struggling to find enough recruits to help fight cyber attacks with demand outstripping supply when it comes to the sector.

Reuters report that the trend has led to those offering the highest salaries and best locations snapping up the best talent to stem global losses from cyber attacks that are estimated at between $80 billion [£50 billion] and $400 billion [£250 billion] per year.

"As with anything, it really comes down to human capital and there simply isn't enough of it. They will choose where they work based on salary, lifestyle and the lack of an interfering bureaucracy and that makes it particularly hard to get them into government," says Chris Finan, former director of cyber security for the White House.

The UK has blocked 400,000 advanced cyber threats to the government’s secure intranet in the past year and announced a new Joint Cyber Reserve last month. The US military’s Cyber Command, meanwhile, is expected to be four times larger by 2015 with 4,000 new workers to be recruited.

It’s expected that the number of IT security roles will increase in the US by 22 per cent in the ten years to 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. It’s a similar story around the globe with salaries set to rise by between five and seven per cent per year.

"Recruitment and retention in cyber is a challenge for everybody working in this area. It's an area where demand exceeds supply ... it's going to take a while for supply to catch up," says Mike Bradshaw, head of security and smart systems at Selex.

The problem for governmental organisations, such as the US National Security Agency [NSA], is that they are unable to match the salary levels that private companies can reach.

Though governments do have the advantage of being a big draw when it comes to helping the country with one hacker stating that what he was doing was "important" and spoke of a desire to serve the country.

According to Alan Paller, founder of the SANS institute in Washington, those with “very good” skills in sought after fields will earn between $100,000 [£62,480] and $140,000 [£87,470] a year with private firms willing to pay up to $200,000 [£124,950] for top talent.