The masterclass of the fifth Cyber Security Challenge is underway in London.
Held on HMS Belfast, the 42 finalists are facing a challenge against the fictional terror group Flag Day Associates, who have taken control of the warship’s guns and are pointing them at London’s City Hall.
The six teams are operating against each other in a test of both soft and technical skills. Cyber Security Challenge CEO Stephanie Damon called this the “most ambitious challenge ever” and she was delighted to have drawn people from a range of backgrounds and ages, and including people who do not work in cyber.
“We are measuring more than technical skills, this gives us a true scope of the competency of cyber security professionals and to understand the breadth of skills across the sector,” she said.
Mark Hughes, CEO of sponsor BT Security, said that it was important that it addresses the skills gap and to understand the shortage that is there, including technical, management and more at the top line such as penetration testing, and work with those people who are on computer science courses at university so that they can be retrained for a corporate security environment.
Speaking to IT Security Guru, consultant Oscar O’Connor was working as an assessor of the “soft skills” at the event, saying it is not just about the challenges of managing a network, but about working as a team too.
He said: “If we want to find the next generation of people, we have to consider those who stand out not only in the technical challenges, but also as a good communicator.
Cyber Security Challenge sponsorship manager Stuart Coulson told IT Security Guru that he thought the event was “awesome”, saying that the candidates were the best as they had passed the virtual, technical and face to face challenges, but it was the evironment that they were in that they needed to be assessed against.
Candidate Andy Snowball from “Team Victorious” told IT Security Guru he enjoyed the range of ages in the team, as he had 14 years of experience whilst others were still at university, and this gave a good mix of knowledge and capability.
Asked what he thought of the masterclass event, Andy, who entered in 2014 and got to the masterclass stage then but was unable to attend, said that he knew a little bit on the scenario but he felt he did not have the technical skill to do cyber. “What we are doing so far is on protecting the network and we got a 2.5GB file and had to find a way to sift through it to get to the next stage,” he said.
“I have worked in IT for 14 years in oil and gas but it is a non-technical role, more about project management, while in cyber there is a lot of opportunity. It is all very different as some are hacking, some are penetration testing and there is a lot to learn.”
The national competition final, known as the Masterclass, has been developed by a consortium of cyber experts which is led by BT and includes GCHQ, the National Crime Agency, Lockheed Martin, Airbus Group, PGI, C3IA and Palo Alto Networks (in partnership with BT).