May 5, 2023 - Technology

Cybercrime fighters look to AI to fill talent gap

Illustration of a "Now Hiring" sign spelled with zeroes and ones.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Cybercrime fighters may soon rely more heavily on AI to plug growing gaps in the industry's workforce.

Why it matters: Attacks on private and public systems online are outpacing the industry's growth to defend against them.

State of play: The global cyber workforce reached an all-time high of 4.7 million people last year, up about 11% from 2021, a study from nonprofit (ISC)² study found.

  • But the workforce gap — which measures the expected shortfall in filling new roles the industry wants to add to meet that demand — grew more than twice as much (26%).
  • Compared with 2021, far more cybersecurity professionals said that their organization had experienced issues such as lacking proper time for assessment and training, and slow patching of critical systems due to a lack of talent.

What they're saying: "We can train [generative AI] to do some pretty incredible things to enable less-skilled security practitioners to up their game in being able to analyze data more quickly, more accurately," Chester Wisniewski, field CTO applied research at Sophos, told Axios in an interview last week at the RSA conference.

Threat level: Burnout among workers may worsen with more work on their shoulders, potentially widening the talent gap if they leave their organizations.

The big picture: Digital vulnerabilities have exploded as the proportion of consumers' lives being spent online has grown.

  • That reality is butting up against a shrinking pipeline of cybersecurity talent as interest in STEM from young people continues to dwindle.

What to watch: A majority of companies (57%) responding to the (ISC)² survey said they've already adopted automation to help reduce labor shortages.

Go deeper: Cybercriminals won't become AI experts overnight

Go deeper