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One of the largest issues facing cybersecurity today, alongside talent acquisition and market cannibalization, is the fact that Experts with desirable specialist skill-sets are often unable to participate in the industry. Like with practitioners in medicine: professionals in the threat intelligence industry possess unique areas of expertise based on their own training, experiences and interests.
Direct attacks, such as that which spurred the DAO collapse, require the application of these specialist skills to resolve. However, Chief Intelligence Officers have confirmed that they are currently suffering from a lack of availability regarding human resources.
37 percent of these managers detailed the need for a “bigger budget” in order to satisfy demand – with 48 percent detailing the requirement of additional staff with “suitable qualifications.”
International dream team or an administrative nightmare?
Upon examination, you can conclude that there doesn’t appear to be a shortage of candidates for the required vacancies. Statistical evidence supports the argument, as reportedly the vast majority of STEM graduates come from developing countries: with two of the top producers (India and China) having populations which are approximately 4.5 times that of the US.
The availability of qualified talent often transcends the cultural, political, and legislative restrictions imposed by borders and centralization; however, the availability of employment opportunities within the global cyber-security economy is often very restrictive. Language barriers, fierce commercial competition, taxation and legislative burdens are some of the key obstacles to access.
Even without borders, there are qualified candidates whose abilities go to waste due to a lack of accommodation regarding work restrictions. These might include a requirement to work from home (disability, caring for a loved one), frequent personal travel obligations, or a lack of formal qualifications held by otherwise trained and experienced candidates (many are self-taught).
A threat intelligence expert community and ecosystem
This is where PolySwarm comes in. It’s a forthcoming project that promises to revolutionize the threat intelligence sector by making use of decentralized Blockchain technology.
Without the need for enlistment with traditional banks, proactive and highly competent specialists can both acquire a flexible source of employment and receive compensation through a meritocratic reward structure. Financial compensation is based on the accuracy of their work – rather than the location where they are based, or their personal situation. Threat detection is automated, thanks to the thousands of “micro engines” created and optimized by the security experts.
PolySwarm seeks to introduce a token-based economy that will combine the interests of end users (the public/corporate customers), ‘Ambassadors,’ ‘Arbiters’ and ‘Security Experts’ – a global community of threat intelligence specialists.
‘Ambassadors’ are a group whose primary responsibility is to directly contract the skills of specialist experts on behalf of the end users and enterprises. Experts with particular abilities are matched with tasks that they are best suited to: most often the identification and analysis of a particular threat or risk.
By issuing ‘Offers’ and ‘Bounties’ these Ambassadors can initiate smart contracts with the experts, the experts can analyze artifacts and record assertions. Those assertions are then verified by the ‘Arbiters’, who are tasked with helping to define a ground truth upon which future assertions can be better verified. Arbiters are Ambassadors who have accumulated a certain level of trust and reputation within the community.
Nectar (NCT) tokens are the currency used for fees, bids, and compensation for the respective participants in the marketplace. Economic corruption is to be prevented in a variety of ways, including the implementation of methods to discourage collusion.
The platform is, much like Ethereum (which it is based upon), an infrastructure upon which developer solutions can be built. Developer creations called “micro-engines” join the marketplace via a standard API. Ambassadors create solutions to interface their threat intelligence platforms with the marketplace, again via a standard API. All of this means that the end customer benefits from the aggregated threat intelligence coverage.
Polyswarm’s ICO is scheduled for launch on Feb. 6, 2018, with GitHub code and an MVP set for release prior. The founding team is well established within both Blockchain and cybersecurity sectors, having previously won a contract from the US Department of Homeland Security to implement identity management on the Blockchain.