Cabinet Office says women still under-represented in cyber security sector

Image: UK Cabinet Office wants more to be done to encourage women to take part in the cyber security sector. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.

The UK Cabinet Office said that scores of schoolgirls in the country are making digital waves but women are still under-represented in the cyber security sector.

During the ‘Women in Security Network’ conference, Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington said that more has to be done to create opportunities in cyber security for women.

In an online competition held this year by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) as part of the CyberFirst initiative, close to 12,000 girls of 12-13 years of age participated.  More than 24,000 female students have taken part in the competition ever since it was launched in 2016.

The UK Cabinet Office said that promising youngsters from across the country have been undertaking cyber security courses throughout the year, with some of them getting apprenticeships and bursaries through the CyberFirst programme.

Lidington said: “There remains a severe lack of diversity in the cyber industry. Cyber security is among the most important aspects of our national defence today, so we need talent from every part of society enriching our workforces.

“Women have been pioneers in security and technology, and we want to see this reflected in the cyber security sector too.”

The NCSC apart from engaging with future cyber professionals has created an online learning tool to enable workers to gain the skills they require to guard themselves from potential cyber attacks.

The tool called ‘Stay Safe Online: Top Tips for Staff’, which targets SMEs, charities and the voluntary sector, gives awareness to users on how cyber attacks occur, where vulnerabilities are present and how to defend against cyber events.

Lidington, during his speech, also said the new training package will help any user gain the ability to boost the cyber resilience of organisations.

NCSC engagement director Clare Gardiner said: “We all have a part to play in making the UK the safest place to live and work online. Employees are vital in helping keep their organisations’ networks safe and need to be aware of how to protect themselves.

“Our recent Cyber Survey discovered that 25% of organisations don’t see cyber security as a top priority and we hope this tool will empower staff to start conversations around best practice.”

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