The fictional hacker group Flag Day Associates as depicted in a video released by the Cyber Security Challenge

New game to find next generation of cyber experts

A new game that will see players attempt to protect a fictitious aerospace company from hackers is part of a search to find the next generation of cyber-security experts.

Developed by GCHQ in conjunction with the Cyber Security Challenge the new game, named Assignment: Astute Explorer, will see players who register to take part given the chance to analyse code from the aerospace company, identify vulnerabilities and then suggest fixes in an effort to thwart cyber villains the Flag Day Associates.

The game is part of a series of events and competitions organised each year by the Cyber Security Challenge aimed at attracting new talent to the cyber security world, and the most impressive candidates in the virtual assignments will be invited to take part in face-to-face competitions at secret locations around the UK later in the year.

The winning candidates from that round will then take part in a live Masterclass final against the hackers at an event next year.

Stephanie Daman, CEO of the Cyber Security Challenge, said: "Astute Explorer is an ingenious game from GCHQ which will not only provide an enjoyable challenge but will test skills that are in high demand by employers in this sector. I would encourage anyone with an interest in how IT systems and the information they hold can be protected to sign up and give it a go."

Candidates already signed up with the Cyber Security Challenge were assigned the task of analysing the contents of a hard-drive recovered from the Flag Day Associates last weekend, which revealed plans for an attack on ‘Ebell Technologies’ – described as an aerospace and electrical engineering company.

In the fictitious scenario the company has approached GCHQ and as part of their analysis GCHQ’s Astute Explorer, an automated code scanning tool which the game is named after, has returned various snippets of code that may contain vulnerabilities.

Candidates will be asked to identify these vulnerabilities, explain why and how they could be exploited, and finally suggests appropriate fixes.

Chris Ensor, deputy director for the National Technical Authority for IA, said: "GCHQ, as the UK's National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, is pleased to have been able to develop an original game for the Cyber Security Challenge.

"We have designed Astute Explorer to really test candidates' Cyber Security skills. At GCHQ, like many other high tech organisations, we recognise the need for a skilled workforce which is why we are delighted to once again support the Cyber Security Challenge to inspire the next generation of Cyber Security talent."

The games start in September and anyone wishing to register should visit the Cyber Security Challenge website.


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