CEBU CITY – With the continuing threat of cyber attacks, the country needs to have more cybersecurity professionals.
The country’s lack of cybersecurity professionals has to be addressed as electronic information security has become a national threat, a senior economic growth specialist of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said.
MARY Grace Mirandilla-Santos, an independent policy researcher with a special focus on internet connectivity, telecoms, and information critical structure, speaks at 15th Media Seminar dubbed ‘Building Blocks: The US-Philippine Partnership for a Prosperous and a Cyber-secure Digital Economy’ from June 6 to 7 in Cebu City. (Calvin D. Cordova)
Jon Avila said cybersecurity professionals are the most in demand profession and pays higher compared to most other professions.
Avila was one of the speakers of the 15th Media Seminar dubbed “Building Blocks: The US-Philippine Partnership for a Prosperous and a Cyber-secure Digital Economy” hosted by the US Embassy from June 6 to 7 in a hotel here.
Avila called on the government and the academe to raise awareness of this emerging profession.
Carlos Ely Tingson, senior vice president at Kroll Inc., an American corporate investigation and risk consulting firm, said three out of four companies experience cyber threat in the Philippines.
Cyber security is needed to counter sophisticated attacks from the dark cyberspace as these threats could cost billions of losses to organizations, Tiongson said.
A 2021 financial report by the Philippine Stock Exchange Inc. (PSE) showed that losses can go up to P6.15 billion a day if all major Critical Information Infrastructures (CIIs) are attacked.
The PSE said banks, transportation, telecommunications, energy, water, and healthcare industries are highly vulnerable to attacks as well as the government and the growing outsourcing industry in the Philippines.
“Cyberattacks are not just restricted to attacks against government or institutions. Unfortunately, businesses – regardless of size –have been subjected to cyberattack,” said US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson in a recorded speech during the seminar.
Kanishka Gangopadhyay, press attachè at US Embassy in Manila, said the need to have more cybersecurity professionals in the Philippines is critical not only in every company and government agency but especially in the booming outsourcing industry in the Philippines.
Gangopadhyay said cybersecurity protection in the Philippines is a concern of the US as 60 percent of highly critical information on Wall Street is processed in the Philippines.
With this, the US government is investing on programs for training and scholarship, among other initiatives in this regard, said Saptarshi Basu, US Embassy in the Philippines Economic Officer.
Though the cybersecurity workforce reached an all-time high with an estimated 4.7 million professionals, there’s still a global shortage of 3.4 million workers in this profession, according to the 2022 (ISC) Cybersecurity Workforce Study.
In the US, alone, there are more than 700,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs, data from Cybersecurity Ventures showed.
According to an ISC study, the median salary for cybersecurity professionals in the US is $135,000 (about P7.5 million).