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UK Internet users hit the books to counter cyber threat

Google is aiming to train at need British Internet users on how to stay secure online.

By James Nunns

Google is one of a number of tech companies that is ramping up its efforts to provide security training.

The company will be running a countrywide road show that aims to train more than 10,000 British Internet users in how to stay secure online.

Security experts will be hosting free workshops in five cities and 30 schools. The selection of these areas is based upon Google research that shows a higher proportion of Internet users searching for security related questions.

According to the company, searches related to terms such as "Emails have been hacked" and "Phished account" has gone up more than 5,000% in the past ten years.

The research also revealed that a quarter of 2,000 people in UK cities have been hacked or targeted by hackers in the past two years.

Efforts to train and improve the speed at which cyber security professionals are available are being undertaken by other companies such as SANS.

The company is looking to flip the recruitment model by acting as a filter for employers, the company aims to identify the best candidates in the country and then train them to a level where they are ready to deliver a high quality service as soon as they enter a business.

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Steve Jones, UK Managing Director of SANS, says: "Organisations have become frustrated by the time it takes to find new cyber security talent, and with the costly process of training new staff, only to have them take their skills elsewhere just as they start delivering value."

The company designed a Skills and Aptitude Assessment, which had 24,000 assessments submitted, from all of those, 200 candidates were invited to apply for the Academy.

As efforts to protect against cyber security threats continue to grow, the number of trained and talented security professionals will likely need to grow.

The industry has recently seen a growing number of combined efforts from companies to battle security threats, but one of the important areas to safeguard is the average user that may be the most vulnerable.

Raj Samani, CTO, Intel Security, Europe, said: "Simple measures such as understanding what makes a secure password and how to recognise phishing emails can empower consumers of all ages to use technology safely.

"With accurate education, preparation and implementation of security measures, we will hopefully see a drop in successful attacks in the future."

According to Intel Security, the majority of UK sales staff are not being provided with IT security training. This is despite being one of the areas of business that is most exposed to cyber attacks.

Research undertaken by the firm identified that 51% of UK firms don’t give sales staff any training in how to identify or protect against online threats.

This is obviously likely to expose them and the company to much greater risk.

Ashish Patel, UK regional director of network security, Intel Security, told CBR: "Often administration staff that have low levels of access to confidential data and admin rights will need an IT security overview ever six months."

This can be to discuss key but simple security measures such as keeping your password confidential and logging out of PC’s.

Those with higher levels of admin rights and access to highly confidential information should in Patel’s view, "receive quarterly training," this would include both basic measures but also more advanced areas such as DDoS attacks.

Clearly more training should be undertaken and those with high levels of admin rights should receive training that includes practical testing.

Google’s workshops will be hosted in London, Leeds, Birmingham, Boston and Manchester from 7th August starting in Leeds and ending in October.

CBR spoke to Brian Kelly, Rackspace CSO about a capability gap in the market, the full interview can be found here.

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