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Bletchley Park to teach teenagers to become cyber experts

A cyber security college is to be set up at Bletchley Park, home to the men and women who decoded German cyphers during the Second World War

Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing cracked the Germans’ Enigma code during the Second World War, is to begin teaching the next generation of code-breakers.

The UK’s first National College of Cyber Security will open on the Bletchley Park site by 2018 in an effort to nurture the country’s cyber talent.

The plans, announced by Qufaro, a not-for-profit group comprising experts from the Cyber Security Challenge UK, the National Museum of Computing, the Institute of Information Security Professionals, BT Security and Raytheon, are aimed at plugging the skills gap.

Qufaro is concerned at a lack of co-ordination in the training of cyber security experts, leading to a cyber skills gap.

Alastair MacWillson, chair of Qufaro and the Institute of Information Security Professionals, said: “Our cyber education and innovation landscape is complex, disconnected and incomplete, putting us at risk of losing a whole generation of critical talent.”

Lord Reid, former Home Secretary and chair of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at UCL, said: “One of the great challenges is in developing a sustainable flow of skilled professionals for security, growth and cyber innovation. Existing initiatives cannot close the skills gap alone, so it is vital that we keep looking for new ways to build our talent pool.”

Stephanie Daman, Qufaro executive director and CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “There is a critical skills gap in the cyber security industry, which will become ever more pressing as the world around us moves further into an online-first environment. With so much at stake, from personal data to the country’s critical national infrastructure, now is the time to act.”

Read more about the cyber skills gap

Industry and the government are both working towards improving the UK’s cyber security defences. Along with the risks that targeted and sustained cyber attacks pose to individuals, businesses and critical national infrastructure, cyber security is intricately linked to the future success of the UK economy.

Earlier in November, the government published the National Cyber Security Strategy 2016 to 2021 report.

At the time, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said: “Trust in the internet and the infrastructure on which it relies is fundamental to our economic future. Without that trust, faith in the whole digital edifice will fall away. We need a secure cyber space, and we need to work together – business and government – to deliver it.”

Developing cyber skills can also help organisations save money in the cost of recovering from an attack. As Computer Weekly has previously reported, cyber attacks can cost large companies millions.

A study from Kaspersky Lab found that large businesses hiring outside help pay between $1.2m and $1.47m to recover from a cyber security incident, compared with large businesses that have in-house skilled IT security experts to handle a crisis, who pay between $100,000 and $500,000.

This is due to a significant amount of recovery costs going to additional staff wages to hire external expert help – costing an average of $14,000 for small businesses and $126,000 for enterprises, according to Kaspersky Lab.

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