It's conventional wisdom among cybersecurity experts that both the U.S. government and many industries have underinvested in cybersecurity, even as the number and scale of threats have visibly grown.
But now that appears to be changing, as many institutions are now ramping up hiring, and the next generation of cybersoldiers is stepping up.
"We have seen interest from students in cybersecurity and cyberpolicy. CS in general is one of the most popular majors on campus, and the most popular among female undergraduates," said Allison Berke, who is the executive director of the Stanford Cyber Initiative.
"A newly launched student group called Practical Cybersecurity formed this quarter to teach students practical hacking, computer security and cyberpolicy analysis skills," she said. "We don't work directly with government agencies for training, but the student group is planning to enter competitions like the Atlantic Council's cyber 9/12 challenge."
It's the same story at Purdue University's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, which has the oldest U.S. degree program in information security and is the largest producer of Ph.D.s in the field.
"We have seen a steady increase in the number of students interested in cybersecurity over the last few years," said Purdue professor Gene Spafford, a veteran of cybersecurity education who has also advised government agencies including the NSA, FBI and Air Force. Spafford noted though that — as with most graduate school programs — most of his students are not U.S. citizens.
"It is difficult to get U.S. citizens to apply for grad school in CS or information security," he said. "Government wants to hire people but really isn't into helping support academia in training them, obtaining current equipment, or developing good curricular material."
Many graduates of the program take jobs with government agencies or work as contractors but Spafford said CERIAS has "effectively zero support from government agencies to expand our program or offer better education."