The Cyber Security Challenge will be “bigger and better” in its second year as more sponsors and competitions are added to the initiative.
Leading companies in cyber security have thrown their weight behind the competition to encourage newcomers to join the growing industry.
"We're now getting onto a definite small business consolidation year,” Challenge Director Judy Baker told E&T at InfoSecurity Europe.
“The Challenge has done very well for its first year and all of the sponsors – SANS, Sophos, HP Labs, Cassidian - are coming back this year and doing more, while SAIC is joining us as a new sponsor. It’s a growing programme.”
The initiative has been designed to encourage home-grown talent into cyber security jobs by informing them of the opportunities available, Baker added.
“The whole reason for setting it up is to address the acute skills shortage in cyber security,” she said.
“Increasingly people are concerned about that because those jobs are absolutely critical to our digital economy, our national security and the whole way we live, from ATMs to supermarkets.
“If we don’t get the right talented people staying ahead of the increasing threats, it will not be good for the UK.”
Entrants will compete under three streams, including secure network design, informed defence, and investigate and understand.
Each stream features up to three separate competitions set by the Challenge sponsors varying from penetration testing, to malware forensics and network defence. There are a total of eight scheduled competitions and each one tests a different cyber security skill.
“This year’s Challenge is going to be bigger and a more comprehensive test that truly showcases the array of experiences encountered in a professional cyber security environment," said Jay Abbott, head of the Competitions Group at the Challenge and the director of PWC’s Threat and Vulnerability Management practice.
“Supported by some of the most prestigious organisations in cyber security we are now able to offer more competitions, more chances for players to prove their skills, and more ways to win prizes."
“Not only is there a shortage of people in this area, but the need is also increasing, so the gap is widening,” said Terry Neal, EMEA Director of Sans Institute, one of the original sponsors of the challenge.
“This competition has been running in the States for a number of years with organisations including the US Department of Defense.
“We wanted to use the content and mechanisms that we’ve already put in place in the States and offer them as a starting point around which we can build other challenges and get other people involved.
“We’re very happy with how it’s growing, it’s amazing.”
“The prizes will be career-enabling – whether it’s a SANS training course, or an opportunity to do a module at Royal Hollaway, or an internship at a leading company,” added Baker.
Find out more about how to enter the Cyber Security Challenge