Latest Cyber Security Challenge to address Linux skills shortage

The UK national Cyber Security Challenge has launched another competition aimed at addressing a critical Linux security skills gap

The UK national Cyber Security Challenge has launched another competition aimed at addressing a critical Linux security skills gap.

The majority of internet infrastructure is based on Linux, but Linux is rarely taught in schools and Linux security experts are scarce, according to competition organisers.

Cyber Security Challenge UK runs a series of national inspirational competitions aimed at attracting talented people into the profession and informing them about cybersecurity careers and training.

The latest Sophos Linux Forensics Challenge, which begins on 27 August, will test contestants' skills in identifying security issues on a Linux system. 

As well as detecting a series of attacks against the server, competitors will be asked to detail how it has been compromised and make recommendations on how to fix the problems. 

Competitors will need to be familiar with the configuration of Linux operating systems, as well as typical daemons configured on this platform.

Successful competitors will be able to show potential employers that they have the essential skills needed to protect businesses' crucial web systems, organisers said.

"There have been some steps towards improving the ICT curriculum in schools, but we can no longer stick our heads in the sand," said James Lyne, director of technology strategy at Sophos.

"The web is the main tool used by cybercriminals to target both businesses and consumers, so we still need to do much more to teach vital skills such as Linux programming in schools and universities and to nurture the young Linux generation," he said.

The recent trend of stealing passwords and password hashes has been enabled by the fact that organisations are still not securing their data effectively, said Lyne.

"The frustrating thing is that weak password hashes, malware distribution and database theft can often be easily prevented with simple best practice, which is further evidence that the right focus and skills aren't often in place," he said.

The lack of deep technical skills in cybersecurity is the principal reason that many organisations are unable to defend their computers and networks and data, according to Alan Paller, director of research at the Sans Institute, one of the sponsors of the UK Cyber Security Challenge.

Registration for the Linux-focused challenge will close at noon on Wednesday 22 August.




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