New Brunswick

CyberNB in search of cybersecurity talent to fight online crime

As New Brunswick tries to position itself as a leader in cybersecurity, a new program in Saint John will train people in how to prevent, detect and respond to cybercrime.

New program at NBCC will train people to work in growing field of cybersecurity

By 2021, cybercrime globally will cost an estimated $6 trillion, says John Kershaw of CyberNB. (Shutterstock)

As New Brunswick tries to position itself as a leader in cybersecurity, a new program in Saint John will train people in how to prevent, detect and respond to cybercrime. 

"The more we go on the internet … the more opportunities there will be for the wrong nefarious characters to try to breach and access the data that's on the systems," said John Kershaw, CyberSmart lead for CyberNB, an agency of Opportunities New Brunswick that describes itself as "Canada's epicentre for cybersecurity."

This week, a new program was announced at the New Brunswick Community College aimed at to developing a skilled workforce in the cybersecurity field.

The new one-year advanced diploma program will start next September at the Saint John campus and will teach students how to set up networks so they're secure and learn to identify threats to the systems.

Cyber crime covers a range of activities, including hacking into a person's personal computer and accessing personal data, the theft of intellectual property from a commercial business, and manipulating data to influence decisions.

"They can access your computer,  encrypt the information on your computer, and then hold you for ransom saying, 'Unless you pay a certain amount of money it will remain encrypted,'" he said.

As a result, Kershaw said cybersecurity is crucial in protecting computer systems, including how to detect a breach, and what knowing the measures needed to address a breach once it's occurred.

Need designers, managers

"The skill sets that we will be looking at are people that can actually conceptualize, design and build secure data management and networks," he said. "People that can support administration and maintenance of those systems."

If there's a breach, he said, knowing how to respond is important.

"They're trying to identify who the entity is that is causing the breach, hunt them down and try to bring them to justice," he said.

As criminals become more sophisticated in their online attacks, the field of cybersecurity will also need to rely on other professionals such as lawyers and psychologists, he said.

"We need the whole legal system in Canada and around the world to catch up in terms of what privacy laws do we need," he said. "Do we have the capacity to catch these criminals?" 

A global market

With more people relying on the internet, society globally will need an additional 3.5 million employees in cybersecurity by 2021. In that time, cybercrime will cost society an estimated $6 trillion, he said citing Cybersecurity Ventures, a company that researches the global cyber economy.

"The great thing about the internet is it's very useful. … the unfortunate thing is there are many ways for nefarious characters to … access your data."

I think there's going to be lots of opportunities for our young people.- John Kershaw, cybersmart lead for CyberNB

The admission requirement for the New Brunswick Community College program is a diploma or degree in network administration, computer science or similar experience in network administration. 

"This new program will provide graduates with the skills and knowledge that industry is seeking and help expand the cybersecurity infrastructure in New Brunswick," said Marilyn Luscombe, president and CEO at NBCC.

"This partnership is a great example of how new collaborations can help us meet the aspirations of learners and the needs of the labour market."

But as the cybersecurity sector grows, the province will have to be sure it keeps trained people in New Brunswick and brings people in from outside, Kershaw said.

"It's going to grow with time and New Brunswick wants to position itself to have a workforce that can serve the growth of the industry," he said.  ​