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<em>How much of the cybersecurity skills shortage would be solved if hiring managers tried a different approach? The answers are here. Voting technology vendors won’t abandon outdated systems. And dispatches from the big CISA summit underway in Maryland. This is CyberScoop for Thursday, September 19. </em>

Money matters in cyber

But, beyond salary, a combination of factors have contributed to the widespread skills shortage. Various studies suggest the shortage of qualified cybersecurity candidates is set to hit 3.4 million unfilled positions by 2021, up from 2.93 million. It’s the kind of existential problem that results in possible data breaches being ignored and the rise of untested security vendors hawking artificial intelligence tools. And yet there's a surge of momentum behind the argument that the industry’s staffing shortage is self-inflicted (at least in part). The lack of qualified job candidates isn’t just a supply-and-demand issue, according to a Forrester report published in July, but also a deeper failure of bias, expectation, compensation and commitment to effective recruiting and retention. Jeff Stone has more context.

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The latest headache in election security

The Election Assistance Commission told lawmakers it will not de-certify certain voting systems that use outdated Microsoft Windows systems, a disclosure that highlights the challenge of ensuring voting equipment is secure after a vendor ends support for a product. While a voting system would fail certification if it were running software that wasn’t supported by a vendor, the act of de-certifying the system is cumbersome and “has wide-reaching consequences, affecting manufacturers, election administration at the state and local levels, as well as voters,” EAC commissioners wrote in a letter to the Committee on House Administration obtained by CyberScoop. In January, Microsoft will stop providing security updates for Windows 7, a software that's still used in a lot of equipment. Sean Lyngaas is on the case.

Live from New York

U.S. prosecutors sparred with the defense team representing accused CIA leaker Joshua Schulte in a court hearing Wednesday in the Southern District of New York. Schulte, 30, appeared bald with a beard and shoulder-length hair as his attorneys argued they should be able to visit the sites from where the former CIA employee allegedly passed agency secrets to WikiLeaks, a trove later dubbed the Vault7 files. Judge Paul Crotty asked the prosecution why investigators visited the scene, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Laroache said “That’s the location where this crime occurred.” Then, when Crotty asked why the government opposed a defense motion to do the same, Laroache said “We don’t believe it’s relevant.” The dichotomy personified a case that’s involved everything from child pornography, CIA hacking tools and cell phones smuggled into jail. Jeff was in the courtroom.

Mark Warner's lament

Cyberwarfare and information operations now are the primary ways in which countries assert themselves on the world stage, Sen. Mark Warner said in a speech this week, pointing to a new geopolitical reality in which traditional military strength may be less urgent. The Virginia Democrat portrayed hacking, social media manipulation, and other digital techniques as affordable options for smaller countries that don’t have the financial resources to invest in modern military hardware like tanks and fighter jets. U.S. leaders need to more urgently recognize this transition, he said, and prioritize processes and technology that stifle future attempts from adversaries to interfere in U.S. elections and markets. (Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, for years has urged Congress to authorize more funding for cybersecurity.) Shannon Vavra has more details.

Cyber re-skilling program is swamped with applications

Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent says she expects growth from programs like the government’s Cybersecurity Reskilling Academies. As part of the Federal CIO Council’s work to bolster the federal cyber workforce, the government has gone through two rounds of academies since last year. The first cohort had over 1,500 applications for just 25 slots. Counting the second round of applications, the academies have had more than 2,300 federal employees apply in all, Kent said. “That says something about the level of interest across the federal government,” Kent said while speaking at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency summit Wednesday. Shannon was there.

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