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News

Hacker Activity Detection For Linux Included in Cyber Security Challenge

Cyber Security Challenge : 26 August, 2011  (Company News)
The Sophos Linux Forensics Challenge is now included in this year's Cyber Security Challenge to provide opportunities to demonstrate skills in protecting open source platforms
Hacker Activity Detection For Linux Included in Cyber Security Challenge
The Cyber Security Challenge UK  launches its first Linux based competition, testing participant’s ability to detect hacker activity on systems like those that hold some of the UK’s most sensitive and commercially valuable data.

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 was asked to develop the competition in response to candidate feedback from the previous year’s competitions and to encourage the skills that employers need more of.

James Lyne, Director of Technology Strategy at Sophos said: “A lot of the recent highly publicised data breaches have occurred on applications running on Linux. 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.”

“Many of the institutions that underpin our economy put their faith in this technology to protect their data. With the use of Linux increasing, the future of UK plc falls into the hands of those with the expertise to identify attacks on these systems and improve their security going forward. But employers are finding it hard to identify these skills. They are often not covered in school or university courses, which can’t keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of internet technology. 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 and its supporters from across industry, government and academia, run a series of competitions that test the cyber security skills that employers want. The Sophos Linux Forensics competition was developed following feedback from candidates who registered to play during the Challenge’s proof of concept year.

Judy Baker, Director, Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “One thing we learnt from our first set of challenges was that Linux was the operating system of choice for many of our candidates – mainly because it is cheap and allows you to experiment and take more control.”

“In their feedback many candidates suggested that we develop a competition on Linux. With employers searching for people with expertise on these systems, we knew we had to put something together and Sophos took up the baton. When we announced the Sophos Linux Forensics Challenge all 100 initial places were filled almost immediately and we have had to add extra spaces to meet the demand.”

In today’s competition, candidates will be tasked 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 competition will be timed so the ability to prioritise effectively and the use of intuition will be part of the marking.

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. Once here, competitors 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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