Cybersecurity is the “issue of the decade”, chief executive officer of IBM Arvind Krishna has said.

The company said it plans to train more than 150,000 people in cybersecurity over the next three years. In addition, it said it is working on a project to create safe encryption for quantum computing.

Big tech push

The comments came last month as the US’s largest technology companies pledged billions to fight cybercrime. Following a meeting with President Joe Biden, Google pledged $10 billion and Microsoft $20 billion to strengthen security against hacking. In fact, Microsoft admitted that it spends $1 billion a year on the problem.

In total, the initiatives are likely to create a workforce designed to plug the 500,000 vacancies for cyber-qualified staff in the US, said CNBC.

Severe attacks

Cybersecurity moved centre stage in the US after hackers infiltrated Solar Winds, a US IT firm, earlier this year. In fact, while Reuters news agency reported on the attack in December 2020, the US government realised that the breach affected some large federal agencies. Several US officials pointed the finger at Russia, which denied any involvement in the attacks.

The code created a backdoor to customer’s information technology systems, according to the website Business Insider. The hackers then used these weak points to install even more malware that helped them spy on companies and organisations.

The attack remained undetected for months. However, the full extent of the breach may still be unknown.

Skills gap

The industry is beset with a skills gap and a lack of investment in training. A recent study by the Information Systems Security Association said that cyber teams are overworked, have high burn out rates and unfilled vacancies. In fact, four in ten respondents said organisations need to train staff better.

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