The British public’s capability to spot and prevent cyber attacks is the next venture for the Cyber Security Challenge.
Working in partnership with GCHQ, a new virtual game will aim to find future cyber defence talent by protecting a threatened, fictional aerospace company “Ebell Technologies” against a hacktivist group.
Featuring fictional hacktivists Flag Day Associates, a group invented for the 2014/2015 competition and recurring throughout the year, “Assignment: Astute Explorer” will give members of the public a chance to act like a GCHQ operative, using their cyber security skills to investigate and fix the vulnerabilities of a global defence company ahead of a forewarned cyber attack.
The challenge centres around Ebell becoming concerned about the threat of an imminent attack, and GCHQ’s Astute Explorer automated code scanning tool returning code that may contain vulnerabilities. Those who take up the challenge will be asked to identify these vulnerabilities, explain why and how they could be exploited, and finally suggest appropriate fixes.
As well as uncovering vital clues on the objectives and identities of the Flag Day Associates, the most impressive candidates will determine the final line up of online defenders to take on the cyber terrorist group at the Masterclass final 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.”
Chris Ensor, deputy director for the National Technical Authority for IA at GCHQ, said that it had 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,” he said.
Jason Steer, director of technology strategy at FireEye, told IT Security Guru welcomed the move. He said: “The lack of good talent to help businesses be prepared for cyber risk drives up their cost today, which makes it prohibitive for them to employ or bring in.
“However, the challenge continues to grow to find good cyber security professionals and an initiative like this could raise awareness with people in other career paths who may have the skills needed to work in an industry they may have never considered before – to get the right talent it is key to cast the net wider to identify people with the right skills. Without initiatives like this one, UK businesses may be unable to get talented cyber security professionals into their business, the impact on the UK economy will be significant as we have seen the impact to other global business from cyber impacts just in 2014 alone.”
Register to play here: https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/registration/