10,500 Cybersecurity Specialists Needed in Malaysia by 2020
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As the Digital Economy takes the centre stage around the world, the risk of cybersecurity threats has also become prevalent. The threats have become increasingly sophisticated making the need for qualified cybersecurity experts to grow exponentially in Malaysia.
Hence, there is an increasing demand for cybersecurity talent in Malaysia as the government looks to position Malaysia as one of the leading countries in Asean for cybersecurity resources. Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo has said that the cybersecurity industry is expected to enjoy “phenomenal growth” within the next few years.
Asean’s cybersecurity spending is forecasted to grow 15% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2015 and 2025. In addition, Malaysia is one of the top three Asean countries that are expected to contribute 75% of the cybersecurity services market share by 2025
Furthermore, according to a Frost and Sullivan survey, the demand for cybersecurity-related jobs would hit 10,500 by 2020. Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said it was forecasted that by 2020, the industry would see a talent gap of about 6,000 given its current trajectory.
Malaysian students who have an interest in computing courses and good in Maths should consider a career in Cyber Security as it will be very high in demand in future. Furthermore, it pays well. Malaysia targets employing 10,500 cybersecurity professional by 2020 with the right training in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and Big Data across all industries.
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What is the Job Demand for Cybersecurity Specialists in Malaysia?
Cybersecurity is very much a global issue. When attacks happen in the US, chances are, they will trickle down to other parts of the world too. In Malaysia, specifically, cybercrimes have increased at an average of 10,000 cases per year – the highest number involves online scams and hacking information systems of organisations.
The advent of digital technology has fundamentally changed the way people work, eat, shop, and live. But it has also changed the societies and how people defend themselves.
A report by the Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT), states that more than 10,000 cybersecurity attacks on corporations and individuals were recorded last year, showing that cybersecurity is clearly a big concern in Malaysia. Some of the reports included fraud, intrusion, malicious code and cyber harassment.
The more we use technology, the bigger the threat of cyber attacks. The impact of cyberattacks can be devastating and even irreparable to organisations, companies or individuals. In addition, soon the role 5G will play a big part in shaping the future of cybersecurity.
As cybercriminals grow more sophisticated and news of major breaches reach headlines nearly daily, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand: There are currently nearly 3 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide, ISC(2) found.
In 2015, there were 1,714 cases of cyber hacking reported in Malaysia. This year, however, it’s shocking to note that 1,705 incidents have already been reported during the first half of the year!
This proves that the threat in Malaysia is only increasing, and it is expected that more local organisations will be under attack in future. There will also be increased incidents of insider threats through hijacked systems, rogue users, or accidental user errors.
According to statistics shared by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia is one of the best ranking countries in the Asean region based on potential in the cyber-security industry with an anticipated demand for 10,500 cyber-security talents in Malaysia by 2020.
A recent AT Kearney study on cybersecurity revealed the top 1,000 Southeast Asian companies could lose US$750 billion in market capitalisation amid cybersecurity concerns that could derail the region’s digital innovation agenda.
In fact, this demand for specialised skills is reflected in the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2019, which reported that 67% of corporations around the world are currently facing skill shortages in big data/analytics, cyber-security and Artificial Intelligence (AI) – ranked top three skills in order of demand.
- 3.5 Million: A study by CyberSecurity Ventures shows that by 2021 there will be a deficit of 3.5 million cyber security professionals in the world
- 10,500: Number of cybersecurity talent demand in Malaysia by the year 2020 (Source: Frost & Sullivan’s recent digital talent study)
- Top 10% of job opportunities in Malaysia is related to cybersecurity. (Source: Talent Pool Report Pro – Oct 2017)
- 21%: The percentage of women in Malaysian cybersecurity Workforce (Source: Dec 2017 LinkedIn Report)
- USD 632.6M: Estimated value of Malaysia’s overall security services market in 2021 (Source: IDC market Security product and services forecast, 2H16)
What are the Most Worrying Cyber Threats Amongst Malaysian Consumers?
The most worrying threat is that consumers can experience an incidence of cybercrime in a relatively easy fashion. More and more attacks that are happening are for financial gains by way of data leakage or data theft. With the rise of social media and internet usage for personal and professional reasons, consumers seemingly sprint their way throughout the online universe without thinking about privacy settings.
Individuals share much of their personal and sensitive information on social media, and because of the easy accessibility to this personal information, attackers are able to take advantage of this information for malicious purposes. Daily routines like answering e-mails, texting over WhatsApp, transferring files over USB and the like, leave a footprint which can also be exploited by those with ill intentions.
As access to various data, including those of a confidential nature, becomes easily attainable, crooks are able to uncover pins, passwords and sensitive information for malicious purposes. These attackers can spread malware via malicious email attachments, infected programmes and compromised websites.
They hold a victim’s files, computer system or mobile device “hostage”, restricting access until a ransom is paid. In the case of ransomware, demands are relatively affordable and easy, as crooks are intent on collecting money quickly and moving on to their next target. However, making payment does not guarantee the successful return of encrypted files or device/ computer storage.
Cybersecurity Job Demand in Malaysia According to Hays
Cyber security professionals are increasingly in demand as businesses continue to battle the growing threat of cybercrime, says recruiting experts, Hays.
Cyber security is one of the leading challenges being faced by businesses today. The consequences of an attack can be severe to an organisation, including; financial costs running into the millions, damage to a business’s operation and internal systems, compromised customer data and reputational damage to a company’s brand.
Tom Osborne, Regional Director of Hays Malaysia says; “The implications of being attacked are far reaching and the after effects can be devastating to a business, as well as its customers. This is why cyber security needs to be a priority for organisations, so they are better positioned to protect customer data and IT security. As the threats become more sophisticated they become more difficult to keep up with, so the time to address these issues is now.”
With the threat of a cyber-attack escalating in recent years, cyber security spend has increased dramatically. As there has been a spate of well-publicised attacks recently, the amount being spent by businesses on improving their systems and hiring professionals will only increase.
Tom added, “At Hays we have seen an increase in permanent demand for security experts across a range of clients, with security analysts and security architects, cyber threat intelligence analysts, consultants and cyber incident analysts being the most in-demand.”
Businesses looking to hire a cyber security specialist must be prepared to pay a higher premium for professionals with these skills.
Tom explains, “Many businesses have begun to focus on the issue as a priority, which is great, but it means there is a premium being placed on those candidates with cyber security skills as they are in short supply.”
It is still early days for the cyber security jobs market, which in part has led to a worldwide shortage of experts. As a result, wages have increased as organisations battle to attract this sought after talent.
What is the Salary for Cybersecurity Professionals in Malaysia?
The demand for cybersecurity experts in emerging markets like Malaysia is so high that companies are turning their roles into highly lucrative careers and poaching students with job offers even before they graduate.
United Kingdom-based cyber-security firm Protection Group International (PGI) says IT professionals who upskill to specialise in security could easily see a 20 percent increase in pay, The Star reported.
“Demand is outgrowing supply and pushing up pay, as companies compete for the best talent,” PGI chief corporate development officer Sebastian Madden was quoted as saying.
Pikom’s ICT Job Market Outlook in Malaysia 2018 report highlighted that cybersecurity positions are among the top-paying jobs in each of five position levels from fresh graduate to senior manager (see table).
According to the National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom), cybersecurity threats can cripple organisations, infrastructure and as well as “attack” countries. The impact can be devastating, such as financial and data loss and irreparable damage to reputation and credibility.
Pikom chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah said: “If left unchecked, the potential fallout is huge, given the growing role of the digital economy and its rising contributions to the overall ICT industry and the Malaysian economy.”
The Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team, a unit under CyberSecurity Malaysia (the national cybersecurity specialist agency under the purview of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation), recorded 3,280 cyber incidents reported up to June 30 this year.
The incidents are fraud (2,158), intrusion (514), malicious code (192), cyber harassment (170), spam (103), intrusion attempt (77), vulnerabilities (40), content related (23) and denial of service attack (3).
Demand for specialists in the field of cybersecurity is high. Industries such as health care, finance, manufacturing and retail all hire cybersecurity professionals to protect valuable information from cyber breaches.
CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab said the country does not have sufficient talent in cybersecurity.
“We have recorded some 7,866 cybersecurity knowledge workers in the country as of this month. Our target is at least 10,000 knowledge workers by 2020. The cybersecurity domain is not a new industry but due to rapid technology development including emerging technologies, there’s a huge shortage of skilled and qualified cybersecurity professionals,” he said
A critical shortage of specialised cybersecurity professionals worldwide who are able to protect organisations from the adverse risks of the sophisticated online attacks is the reason for the attractive remuneration.
What is the Qualification to become a Cyber Security Specialist in Malaysia?
Cybersecurity is an interdisciplinary field that requires knowledge in tech, human behavior, finance, risk, law, and regulation. Many people in the cybersecurity workforce enter the field from other careers that tap these skills, and translate them to cyber.
Most entry-level cybersecurity positions require a four-year bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or in a related field such as information technology or computer science.
Some employers require an advanced qualification such as a master’s degree in cybersecurity. A master’s degree course takes an additional one to two years to complete after the bachelor’s degree programme and provides advanced instruction in protecting computer networks and electronic infrastructures from attack.
a career path for cyber defenders normally starts with a diploma and progresses to an undergraduate programme in computer science or ICT.
The high-level career requires an array of technical ICT skills and advanced analytical capabilities taught in continuing professional courses or postgraduate programmes.
“Important technical skills required of cyber defenders include a solid grounding in IT fundamentals (web applications, system administration), coding skills (C, C++, Java, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python) and a good understanding of the architecture, administration and operating systems. However, to be successful, one needs to be well-equipped with both technical and soft skills such as teamwork, leadership and excellent oral and written communication,” he added.
Cyber defenders can also participate in professional training and be awarded international certifications such as the International Information System Security Certification Consortium Inc (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional and Information Systems Audit and Control Association Certified Information Security Auditor and Certified Information Security Manager.
Which are the Top Private Universities in Malaysia for Cybersecurity?
If you are considering a career in computer science, take a look at programs that offer a bachelor’s degree in cyber security. With the rise in cyber attacks and increasingly complex cyber threats, a bachelor’s degree in cyber security from a top university in Malaysia provides a strong foundation to be prepared for one of the many jobs available in the field.
Top award-winning universities and colleges in Malaysia to study Computer Security or Cyber Security are:
- Asia Pacific University (APU)
- Multimedia University (MMU)
- Taylor’s University
- University of Wollongong (UOW) Malaysia KDU
What skills are required to work in cybersecurity?
The skills required to work in cybersecurity vary depending on what position you enter and what company you work for. Generally, cybersecurity workers are responsible for tasks such as penetration testing (the practice of testing a computer system, network, or web application to find vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit), risk analysis (the process of defining and analyzing the cyber threats to a business, and aligning tech-related objectives to business objectives), and security assessment (a process that identifies the current security posture of an information system or organization, and offers recommendations for improvement).
Certifications, including Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) are also in demand, and can net you a higher salary in the field.
Where can You work with a Degree in Cyber Security?
Graduates can find employment as computer security experts such as cybersecurity analysts, forensic computer analysts, software developers, IT analysts and web application developers in many different organisations.
- Chief Information Security Officer
- Computer Forensics Engineer
- Computer Forensics Investigator
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Ethical Hacker
- Information Security Analyst
- Information Security Engineer
- Information Systems Security Manager
- Information Systems Security Officer
- Malware Analyst
- Penetration Tester
- Secure Applications Engineer
What are some of the Cyber Security Job Roles?
Cybersecurity jobs span a number of different roles with a variety of job functions, depending on their title as well as an individual company’s needs.
In-demand roles include penetration testers, who go into a system or network, find vulnerabilities, and either report them to the organization or patch them themselves. Cybersecurity engineers, who often come from a technical background within development, dive into code to determine flaws and how to strengthen an organization’s security posture. Security software developers integrate security into applications software during the design and development process.
Computer forensics experts conduct security incident investigations, accessing and analyzing evidence from computers, networks, and data storage devices. Security consultants act as advisors, designing and implementing the strongest possible security solutions based on the needs and threats facing an individual company.
At the top of the chain, CISOs helm a company’s cybersecurity strategy, and must continuously adapt to battle the latest threats.
A career in cybersecurity can take the form of various roles, including penetration tester, chief information security officer (CISO), security engineer, incident responder, security software developer, security auditor, or security consultant.