Cyber Security Challenge UK

Linux competition launched by Cyber Security Challenge UK

The Cyber Security Challenge UK has launched a competition challenging participants to detect hacker activity on Linux systems.

The Sophos Linux Forensics Challenge will test competitors’ knowledge of malicious attacks and their ability to prevent them on the widely used open source system.

Sophos developed the challenge in response to feedback from previous years' participants and to encourage skills needed by employers to protect sensitive and commercially valuable data.

“A lot of the recent highly publicised data breaches have occurred on applications running on Linux,” explained James Lyne, director of technology strategy at Sophos.

“Because of a lack of ‘malware’ compared to other platforms, companies assume that these systems are eminently secure and entrust them with their most sensitive data.

“However, in reality the dangers are still there, they are just different from those faced by conventional PC systems.”

Lyne added that many institutions underpinning the economy use Linux technology to protect data, risking more attacks from hackers targeting these systems.

“But employers are finding it hard to identify these skills, as they are often not covered in school or university courses, which can’t keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of internet technology,” he said.

“Without a formal academic path, it’s difficult for employers to identify those with the right skills and for potential employees to demonstrate they have them.”

The Cyber Security Challenge UK is a series of competitions designed by leading security, education and government organisations as a response to the significant shortage of skilled professionals in the cyber security sector.

The Sophos Challenge will task candidates with detecting the activity of hackers on simulated Linux systems, created by Sophos experts to look like those under attack in real corporate environments.

As well as identifying what is wrong with a system, they will also be asked to make recommendations to prevent similar attacks in the future.

The overall winner of the Sophos competition will be amongst those awarded career enhancing prizes whilst a number of successful candidates will qualify for the next stage – the Sophos Malware Hunt – in January next year. 

Competitors at this stage will be asked to identify and explain a range of real malicious code from the vaults at SophosLabs in a bid to prevent data theft and system failure.

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