Cyber security boot camp to educate potential cyber spooks

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Cyber security boot camp to educate potential cyber spooks

Karl Flinders

A group of about 30 young people will attend a cyber security boot camp next month set up by the organisations responsible for the Cyber Security Challenge .

The boot camp is receiving input and support from the Metropolitan Police Central E-crime Unit (PCeU), as well as suppliers HP and KPMG.

The training camp will run for five days at Lancaster University.

Experienced security professionals will teach the talented amateurs about cyber defence. “It will act as a proof of concept for a series of regional camps that the Challenge is looking to roll out across the UK to develop talent in the younger generation,” said the organisers.

Most of the candidates attending the cyber camp are under 25 and have been selected from hundreds of participants in the Cyber Security Challenge competition which has run since April.

Stephanie Daman, CEO at the Cyber Security Challenge UK, said the cyber camp concept is something completely new for this year’s Challenge: “It represents a great opportunity for our expert sponsors to work closely with a group of talented young amateurs to develop their skills and show them how exciting and varied the cyber security profession can be.”

Daman added that it could be the first of a series of similar camps if successful: “We are running this as a proof of concept for a series of annual regional camps across the country, run out of local universities with a speciality in computer science and cyber security to specifically target younger guys and girls with real talent.”

The course will include:

-Digital forensics training: Candidates will enter a reconstructed crime scene where they will be taught about bagging and tagging and the confiscation of technology. With training from the Police Central e-crime Unit, Lancaster University and Micro Systemation, they will learn how to analyse these devices to find out information on their owners. They will then be briefed on how to provide evidence in court as an expert witness.

-Informed defence training: Candidates will be briefed by cyber security experts at KPMG and Royal Holloway University on patching and securing networks and the "informed" part of cyber defence, such as threat analysis. They will then be split into teams and given half an hour to apply what they have learnt to a real IT infrastructure. The teams defend their newly patched networks from each other and later compete against the professionals at KPMG. 

-Cyber security careers fair: Candidates will be invited to meet major employers in UK cyber security at a careers fair that is open to anyone interested in the sector. Employers already signed up include HP, QinetiQ, Cassidian, Raytheon and Ultra Electronics. Alongside them will be professional and education bodies such as CompTIA, (ISC)2, Crest, Infosec Skills, 7Safe and Royal Holloway. During the fair Raytheon will run professional skills workshops to develop attendees' interview and presentation techniques, increasing their chances of getting a job in the industry.

-ICE day (Innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship): Lecturers at Lancaster will brief the candidates on cyber-related business topics that require creative security solutions. Following additional briefings with HP and Ultra Electronics, they will be asked to take an entrepreneurial approach and come up with a business proposition to solve the issue. They will then present their solution within a Dragon’s Den featuring experts from Raytheon and Ultimate Creative Communications.

-Wider concepts day: Candidates will be briefed and challenged on risk analysis, politics and criminology by the team at Lancaster University.

Last month the government announced plans to shore up its defences against cybercrime through post-graduate training, and has asked universities to apply for funding to run training courses for post-graduates.

Through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), universities have been invited to apply for grants to run two new dedicated centres for Doctoral training.

This is in response to the UK government’s National Cyber Security Programme, an initiative to “create a stable, secure and open cyber environment in which the UK’s interests and businesses can operate and be preserved,” according to the government. 


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