The US has been swamped by ransomware attacks targeting critical government and corporate infrastructure this year which have created the impression that the US is a soft touch for hackers. Some of this is down to gaps in the talent pipeline and cash-strapped local governments and Big Business being unable to find or hire anyone.
The issue has emerged repeatedly in Senate and House hearings but received little public attention.
Software King of the World, Microsoft, has pitched in by providing free cybersecurity curriculum to every public community college. A nonprofit, Public Infrastructure Security Cyber Education Systems, provides university students hands-on experience: monitoring real-time data on local government networks.
A job-tracking database funded by the Commerce Department shows there are nearly 600,000 US cyber job openings nationwide.
The Department of Homeland Security recently launched a federal recruiting tool aimed at courting young, diverse talent. DHS currently has about 1,500 cybersecurity-related vacancies, affecting the agency's efforts to protect the homeland. A Senate audit found key agencies across the federal government continue to fail to meet basic cybersecurity standards, with eight of them earning a C- in the report.
Local and federal government entities have always struggled to compete with private sector companies, where bidding wars for such talent are commonplace.