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Simulated cyber attack in London adds finalists to 2016 UK Cyber Security Challenge

Ten would-be cyber warriors head to the final of the UK Cyber Security Challenge after showing off their skills to prospective employers in dealing with a simulated cyber attack

Ten more finalists for the 2016 UK Cyber Security Challenge have been identified in a recent simulated mobile-based cyber attack in London.

They will join 32 other finalists drawn from this year’s competitions who will battle it out in November to be crowned the 2016 champion.

The final is to be hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, GCHQ, the Bank of England and the National Crime Agency.

Now in its sixth year, the challenge is backed by the government and more than 50 UK public, private and academic organisations to promote cyber security as a career and identify talent.

In the penultimate event in the 2016 competition, would-be cyber warriors were tasked with a forensics investigation in London to defeat a simulated attack using mobile devices.

The cyber amateurs, selected from a series of national online qualifying rounds, were monitored by hosts BAE Systems and Her Majesty’s Government Communications Centre (HMGCC), which were looking to recruit stand-out candidates.

A group of 30 candidates were put through their paces in a simulated working environment to test individual aptitude and performance, with candidates taking on the roles of government contractors investigating a high profile attack on a fictional secure payment app and website.

Players were given BAE Systems and HMGCC advice to pull apart the company’s server, work out how to detect compromises on smart phones, search source files and report to the organisation’s board on their findings.

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The tasks tested the teams’ technical capabilities as well as demonstrate their soft skills to see if they have all the aptitudes needed to be successful in the industry. 

The top performers will go through to the competition final, while those meeting the requirements of BAE Systems and HMGCC will be invited to fast track technical interview stages, increasing their chances of employment following the competition.

Stephanie Daman, CEO at Cyber Security Challenge UK, said the calibre of jobs on offer in cyber security is “astounding”.

“With so many diverse roles available there is a chance for people to thrive and become hugely successful in the industry,” she said.

The competitions that make up the Cyber Security Challenge, said Daman, throw candidates in the deep end and enable them to immerse themselves in the world of cyber security.

“The canidates demonstrate their skills to potential employers and take the first steps towards becoming cyber security experts,” she said.

Cyber threats continue to plague many industries, noted Daman. “With a widening skills gap affecting businesses ability to hire staff, events such as these provide the perfect opportunity for talent to emerge and for businesses to see them in action,” she said.

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