A patient has labtests performed, but neither HIPAA nor patient-doctor confidentiality are enough to keep her information private. Meanwhile, a major political party leader sends an email about election strategy only to find the message posted online.
From private citizens and public figures to governments and industry, it’s the same old story no matter how recent the headline: cyber attacks can cause any one of us great damage in the blink of an eye.
The threat can seem like an unsolvable puzzle. However, there is a major piece that can change the game — talented young adults. Employers worldwide need today’s youth to become the seasoned cyber defenders of tomorrow, and that is why Raytheon and the National Cyber Security Alliance commissioned for the fourth straight year a survey of young adults ages 18 to 26 in 12 countries about all things cybersecurity.
Despite growing awareness, the survey showed most young adults are not interested in cyber careers. The percent of respondents aware of what cyber jobs involve is up to 45 percent from 39 percent a year ago. However, most have not sought out any activities related to cybersecurity, such as clubs, internships, competitions, scholarships or career fairs.
Young adults are increasingly aware of cyber attacks, with the number who said they heard or read about an attack in the news nearly doubling from 36 percent in 2015 to 64 percent in 2016. In the U.S., 53 percent also said a political candidate’s position on cybersecurity affected their support for them. These young adults are aware of the problem and care about it — they’re just not jumping to be the solution, despite the noble missions and competitive salaries that careers in cyber offer.
To address this, Raytheon has been actively rallying the next generation of cyber pros through a multi-tiered approach:
- Since cyber pros are hard to come by, the company decided to make its own. Raytheon’s in-house school, Foreground University, is available to the employees of Raytheon Foreground Security and its customers. The 18-month training program turns college grads into members of an elite cyber team that hunts down and stops damaging network threats.
- Raytheon partnered with the (ISC)2 Foundation to establish the Raytheon Women’s Cybersecurity Scholarship. The program will offer $90,000 in scholarships and paid internships between 2016 and 2018 to encourage women to pursue degrees in the cyber field.
- Since 2014, Raytheon has presented the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. The competition, the largest of its kind in the U.S., lets college students showcase their skills by protecting a network against cyberattacks, preparing students to take on threats in technology careers following graduation.
- Across the pond, Raytheon sponsors the Cyber Security Challenge UK, an event series that tests amateur applicants with cyber skills.
- Raytheon’s Cyber Academy, a global cyber education program, reflects our commitment to develop the next generation of cyber talent worldwide. The academy launched in 2016 in the United Arab Emirates with a vision for expansion to additional countries.
The threats facing us become clearer by the day, and it’s important that we place a high priority on preventing them from becoming damaging actions. While getting young adults to become cyber pros isn’t the only piece of the puzzle, it’s a major one, and we need to work together to ensure a safer internet for all.
About the Author
Bill Leigher is government cyber solutions director for Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. The division Leigher leads provides cybersecurity and cyber solutions to the U.S. Department of Defense and federal civilian agencies to strengthen critical infrastructure and informations systems.