The Cabinet Office has said that women remain under represented in the cyber security sphere.

The official stance comes despite a nationwide drive to get more young women interested and involved in cyber and digital sectors.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington told the Women in Security Network conference recently that more needs to be done to open more pathways for women into computer industries.

Three years ago, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) opened a web-based competition to girls as part of its CyberFirst initiative. This year, the scheme attracted almost 12,000 girls aged 12 to 13, while over 24,000 young women have participated over the time of the competition’s existence.

The Cabinet Office acknowledged this progression, noting how young girls from across the UK had been engaging with cyber security programmes, with numerous students moving on to apprenticeship schemes and bursaries thanks to the CyberFirst initiative.

However, Mr Lidington emphasised that more work is needed to address the gender imbalance in computing.

“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,” he said.

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

Besides collaborating with industry experts, the NCSC has put together a web-based educational package to give workers the baseline skills and knowledge they need to defend against online crime.

The package, called “Stay Safe Online: Top Tips for Staff” is aimed at small- and medium-sized enterprises, charities and organisations in the voluntary sphere. The tool is designed to spread awareness about how cyber-attacks take place, how to identify computer weaknesses and how to improve safeguards against hacker behaviour.

During his talk, Mr Lidington explained how the new training tool will help users grow into an asset within their organisation’s cyber defence framework, as opposed to a liability.

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.”

Originally posted on PrivSec:Report, to visit the site click here.

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