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UK businesses turning to ex-hackers for cyber security

Ex-hackers are being targeted by UK companies to help them get ahead of the current crop of cybercriminals.

According to research from KPMG, the inability of firms to find people with the necessary security skills has lead many to turn towards those with shady pasts.

53 per cent of the 300 professionals surveyed said that they would consider using a hacker to steal inside information. The same amount also said that they would hire a security expert with a background in cybercrime.

These drastic actions are pushed by the fact that companies are lacking “data protection and privacy expertise” and concerned about their ability to deflect threats. 70 per cent of those surveyed by KPMG admitted that they worried about their network defences.

Aggressive headhunting is taking its toll on the industry too. Just under 60 per cent of those surveyed said that it had become difficult to retain security staff for any length of time.

“The fact that companies are considering former hackers as recruits clearly shows how desperate they are to stay ahead of the game,” said Serena Gonsalves-Fersch, KPMG’s Cyber Security Academy chief.

“Rather than relying on hackers to share their secrets, or throwing money at off-the-shelf programs that quickly become out of date, UK companies need to take stock of their cyber defence capabilities and act on the gaps that are specific to their own security needs,” she added.

The government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is combating these drastic measures, allocating a large chunk of its £860m budget towards aiding firms in need.

The National Cyber Security Strategy involves training cyber skills and giving development guidance to businesses that might find it difficult to maintain their security standards.