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News

Major organizations collaborate on latest cyber security challenge

Cyber Security Challenge : 11 November, 2014  (Company News)
The 2015 cyber security challenge kicks off with realistic cyber terrorist attack simulation to test the skills of participants
Major organizations collaborate on latest cyber security challenge

Cyber security experts from BT, GCHQ, the National Crime Agency, Lockheed Martin, Juniper and Airbus have announced their collaboration to design the  most realistic cyber terrorist attack simulation ever run specifically to test the skills of UK amateur online defenders. The attack will form the Cyber Security Challenge UK’s 2015 Masterclass final, the culmination of almost a year's worth of nationwide competitions to identify new talent for the cyber security profession and address a critical skills shortage that affects government bodies, businesses and citizens alike.

Over the coming months this unique consortium of organisations, led by BT, will work together to design a fitting end to another successful Challenge year that has seen over 18,000 people register to test their ability to keep the UK safe online. Although the full details will remain top secret right up until the final in March, the Challenge can reveal that the two day competition will focus on investigating and preventing attacks by a cyber terrorist group aiming to cause real world damage that could bring physical harm to citizens in central London.

The group in question, known as the Flag Day Associates was introduced during the Challenge's launch of its 2014/15 programme of online and face-to-face cyber games, via a threat video that warned of future cyber attacks against the UK. As the Challenge's first recurring characters, the investigation and defence against this new nemesis has formed a continuous threat throughout this year's competitions.

As the final stage in the so called Operation Flag Day series of competitions, the best candidates identified by the Challenge will face a constantly evolving role playing scenario, comprising both technical challenges and more business-focused risk analysis and policy tasks. Finalists will be asked to show off the potential for a career in cyber security within a highly pressurised operation room environment by solving the sorts of problems cyber security professionals encounter every day.

Whilst primarily a team based exercise, every one of the 42 finalists will also be assessed individually on technical, interpersonal and decision making skills. This will allow a panel of expert judges from across UK industry and government to select winners, including the new Cyber Security Challenge UK champion.

The winners will take home their share of a unique pot of career enabling prizes including university bursaries, professional accreditation, access to industry events and professional internships. With its sponsors’ support the Challenge has handed out over £300,000 of career enabling prizes to more than a 100 of the UK’s leading amateur cyber defenders, a number of whom have since moved into the profession.

Many of the places at the Masterclass are still up for grabs and open to anyone of EU nationality resident in the UK who is not currently working as a cyber-security professional. To qualify, candidates must register with the Challenge and prove their talent by playing one or more of the upcoming virtual qualifier competitions.

Stephanie Daman, CEO, Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “Our finalists are going to be in for a real treat! This is the largest collection of cyber expertise we have ever pulled together to put our candidates through their paces. With an emphasis on realistic operational environments and demands, this year’s finalists will face a Masterclass that will excite and challenge in equal measure. Best of all there are still a few opportunities to book a place. If anyone from any background is interested in an opportunity to pit their wits against the UK’s best cyber security experts, I would strongly advise they register with us today for one of our upcoming virtual qualifiers.”

Mark Hughes, CEO, BT Security, said: “Getting security right and protecting businesses, government and the general public against cyber attacks is vitally important. However, as the UK faces a worrying shortage of cyber security talent, every new reported threat raises our susceptibility to being attacked. As a result it is a critical matter of national security as well as economic prosperity that we ensure the right people are found, trained and ready to take on key roles in the cyber security profession. This is why BT is taking a leading role in developing and running the forthcoming Cyber Security Challenge Masterclass which will be the largest, most exciting and realistic test of new cyber security skills ever run in the UK!"

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