Police and military struggling to find hackers

We said it before: “Cyber security experts are in high demand. But in short supply.” Several news stories this month once again confirmed that organisations are having a hard time to fill their positions related to cyber security in the current labour market.

When one thinks about the police or the military cyber security is not always top of mind. However these organisations are becoming increasingly reliant on good cybersecurity experts and systems for their operations. Recent examples of cyber incidents like the hack of the democratic party in the U.S.A. and stories of elections being influenced through hacks are showing the need for a strong and skilful cyber force.


In a recent article in newspaper Trouw the director of the Dutch military intelligence service (MIVD) elaborated on their transition to cyber and the struggle to find enough cyber talent. A new law that will drastically extended the powers of the agency pending approval from parliament. The agency hopes approval of this new law will help to attract candidates. Offering tasks on the internet that are beyond the capability and legal framework of private organisation.


In similar news earlier this month, The Netherlands National Police announced that they were setting up 10 new teams that focus specifically on combatting cybercrime. Erik Akerboom, chief of the National Police said that because cybercrime is becoming an increasingly bigger part of all crime the police needs to be flexible and able to deal with this development. In order to do so 10 regional will all get their own cyber team. For this teams that will each consist of at least 10 detectives the police is recruiting 100 cyber experts this year. In 2018 they will repeat this exercise recruiting another 100 experts.


Considering the current difficulties organisations have in finding new cyber talent the police started  the website www.crimediggers.nl as a recruiting tool. The website hosts several challenges that are designed to replicate the reality of daily operations as much as possible. Potential candidates can do challenges to find out if they are equipped for the tasks at hand.


Although the numbers of students enrolled in computer science has grown over the past few years this does not solve the current labour market problems. The students who start now will join the workforce 4 years from now. Rik van Duijn security expert at Dearbytes points out there is another option: hobbyists. The people that are experienced through spending the majority of their time working with computers for fun. He points out that this group often possesses very deep knowledge on various subjects.