TalkTalk cyber insecurity shows growing demand for IT contractors

TalkTalk cyber insecurity shows growing demand for IT contractors

27 October 2015

Internet and telecoms company TalkTalk was the victim of a “significant and sustained” cyber-attack last week, which could have compromised the personal details and bank account information of thousands of their customers.

Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the attack, which is just the latest in a string of cyber insecurities.

As more companies wake up to the dangers of cyber-crime the demand for skilled IT contractors is on the rise. 

An insecure cyber future

The TalkTalk hackers, who may have issued CEO Dido Harding with a ransom shortly after the breach, are the latest cyber criminals trying to make money by stealing information online.

Carphone Warehouse, T-Mobile and Sony Corp represent just a few multinational companies who count themselves among the victims of similar attacks.

The response to the TalkTalk incident has been swift. The London Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit launched a criminal investigation into the attack.

Police in Northern Ireland arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the incident yesterday. The boy has since been released on police bail.

TalkTalk is also expecting to receive disciplinary action from the Information Commissioner’s Office which regulates data in the UK.

Experts have also called for regulators to get tough new “US-style” powers to tackle what is seen as a growing problem in the UK.

Contractors in demand

Companies of all shapes and sizes are under threat in this new, more dangerous cyber landscape. And even big companies like TalkTalk appear to be woefully unprepared.

Last week the Financial Times reported that senior UK security officials thought that TalkTalk’s website had been compromised by a relatively unsophisticated type of attack. The experts also warned that this attack should be a “wake-up call” for British businesses.

With all of the financial and reputational damages associated with a cyber-attack, plus the threat of more stringent regulatory powers on the horizon, it is easy to see why businesses might take another look at their cyber defences.

The IT skills to manage the UK's cyber defences are in high demand, but in relatively short supply.

A survey conducted by technology certification body CompTIA found that three-quarters of IT managers say that network and data security skills are the most important when they are hiring.  

E-Skills UK, the IT sector skills council says that the industry needs about 140,000 new entrants each year to meet demand. But last year there were only 16,440 computer science graduates in the UK.

This mismatch between supply and demand is intensifying at a time when the dangers of cyber-crime are a major concern for British business leaders.   

Oscar Phillips, Business Development Manager at Umbrella.co.uk, said: “At a time when British businesses are waking up to the real possibility of a catastrophic data attack, the reliable supply of skilled IT workers just isn’t there.

“It is times like these when the flexible labour force comes into its own. The lack of permanent workers with the necessary network security skills will push up short-term demand for IT contractors in the UK. This means that businesses might have to pay a premium to get protected online.”