The UK's second Cyber Security Challenge - aimed at attracting talent to the information security industry - is open.
Would-be cyber warriors can register on the Cyber Security Challenge UK website for a set of challenges, designed by organisations across the cyber security industry, to attract and identify raw information security talent.
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Research published by the Sans Institute in 2010 found 90% of respondents from the information security industry are finding it difficult to recruit cyber security professionals.
Roles in the fields of strategy, policy guidance, risk management, incident response and threat management were the most difficult to find candidates, the research revealed.
The Cyber Security Challenge UK, backed by a consortium of local commercial, academic and public sector organisations, hopes to attract more than 4,000 entrants with several career-enhancing opportunities up for grabs.
Eight top sponsors have been confirmed for the second year of the Cyber Security Challenge UK, with more expected to join in the coming months.
Seven of the sponsors supported last year's programme and have increased their level of support for the second year.
"SAIC is excited to join a superb team and sponsor the upcoming challenge. We are looking forward to using our CyberNexs training and simulation platform to add another brand new dimension to the competition that broadens the experience for competitors," says Robert Giesler, senior vice-president, cyber programs SAIC.
James Lyne, director of technology strategy at security firm Sophos, says the first year of the competition was successful in identifying new talent. Lyne said the first Cyber Security Challenge had introduced careers in the security industry to many people who had perhaps previously not considered it or thought they were not good enough.
"We've taken candidate feedback on both the challenges and the registration process into account and this year's new and enhanced challenges aim to make the whole experience even more fun and to test an even greater number of skills. We had a great uptake last year, but hope to see even more candidates taking part this year, including some old faces from last time," James Lyne said.
The opening of the challenge also marks the launch of the Cyber Security Challenge UK website, designed by challenge sponsor, Ultimate.
Judy Baker, director of Cyber Security Challenge UK, sees this as a significant step to improving how people access the challenge competitions and the information provided by the challenge about career paths in cyber security.
"We have received many questions seeking information and lots of feedback on last year's registration process. We have taken this all on board and our new site is now ready for candidates to register for this year's competitions. In time, it will also provide more information about how to get onto the first step of the ladder leading to a career in cyber security," said Judy Baker.