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Q, everyone's favorite gadget-smith, never got the respect he deserved. The job carried some great perks, sure – getting his hands on all that cutting-edge tech must have been awesome, and Q stayed immaculately dressed – but in the end, it was always James Bond who got the glory and the tricked out Aston Martins. Q and his friends might end up with the last laugh, though. The British government is warning that it's losing computer whizzes left and right as the allure of big paydays and fast cars are sucking geeky government agents into the private sector.
The news comes on the heels of an annual report by the Intelligence and Security Committee, who oversees the spy-type activities of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Security Service (MI5), as well as Britain's Government Communications Headquarters. The country's cybersecurity falls under its jurisdiction, and the committee's worried that a move to keep its budget locked at current levels for the next four years could cost them key personnel.
"Month-on-month, we are losing whizzes who'll basically say: 'I'm sorry, I am going to take three times the salary and the car and whatever else'," Reuters reports ISC director Iain Lobban as saying. "...I can offer them a fantastic mission, but I can't compete with their salaries. But I probably have to do better than I am doing at the moment, or else my internet whizzes are not going to stay ... and we do have a steady drip, I am afraid."
Cars and money does sound pretty tempting, we have to admit. Lobban claims Britain's networks are hit by over 1,000 cyber attacks month in and month out. Is it wise to freeze raises to the country's top geeks in these days of rampant hack attacks? Only time will tell.