Cyber Security Challenge UK gears up for cyber terror final

The Cyber Security Challenge UK prepares for a realistic cyber terrorist attack simulation to test finalists in March 2015

The Cyber Security Challenge UK is gearing up for the most realistic cyber terrorist attack simulation ever to test a set of finalists, in March 2015.

The simulation is being designed by cyber security experts from BT, GCHQ, the National Crime Agency, Lockheed Martin, Juniper and Airbus Group.

The Cyber Security Challenge UK is a set of nationwide competitions to bring more talented people into the cyber security profession to help address a critical skills shortage.

A group of 42 finalists, drawn from nationwide competitions in the past year, will demonstrate their skills as they attempt to avert a cyber-triggered physical terrorist attack by the fictional Flag Day Associates group.

As the final stage in the past year’s Operation Flag Day series of competitions, the top candidates will face a constantly evolving role-playing scenario.

The final challenge will include technical challenges as well more business-focused risk analyses and policy tasks.

Finalists will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their potential for a career in cyber security in a highly pressurised operation room environment.

Cyber Security Challenge prizes

While mainly a team-based exercise, every one of the 42 finalists will be assessed individually on technical, interpersonal and decision-making skills.

This will allow a panel of expert judges from across UK industry and government to select winners, including the new Cyber Security Challenge UK champion.

The winners will take home their share of career-enabling prizes, including university bursaries, professional accreditation, access to industry events and professional internships.

“This is the largest collection of cyber expertise we have ever pulled together to put our candidates through their paces,” said Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK.

“With an emphasis on realistic operational environments and demands, this year’s finalists will face a Masterclass that will excite and challenge in equal measure.”

With the support of sponsors, the Cyber Security Challenge has handed out over £300,000 of career-enabling prizes to more than a 100 of the UK’s leading amateur cyber defenders since the inception of the competition in 2010.

How to enter the Cyber Security Challenge

According to the organisers, there are still places open for the final, open to anyone of EU nationality, resident in the UK, who is not currently working as a cyber-security professional.

To qualify, candidates must register with the Cyber Security Challenge and prove their talent by playing one or more of the upcoming virtual qualifier competitions.

Mark Hughes, CEO of BT Security, said the UK faces a worrying shortage of cyber security talent.

“Every new reported threat raises our susceptibility to being attacked, and therefore it is a critical matter of national security, as well as economic prosperity, that we ensure the right people are found, trained and ready to take on key roles in the cyber security profession,” Hughes said.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said skilled professionals of the highest calibre are essential to the government’s national strategy to improve cyber security and make the UK one of the safest places to do business online. 

“We are funding the Cyber Security Challenge to help potential experts hone their skills through an exciting and stretching series of scenarios. I would encourage all budding cyber experts to get involved and test their skills,” he said.

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