U.K. seeks cyber experts, offers challenge and educational and job opportunities

It seems that the U.S. is not the only country with a severe shortage of cyber security experts – the U.K. is seeking them out as well.

The BBC dubbed it a “Britain’s Got Talent style competition to find UK’s finest IT workers”, but it’s official name is The Cyber Security Challenge.

Sponsored by a variety of security organizations, government and educational institutions, forums and businesses (among whose are EADS Defence and Security, Open University, the SANS Institute, Sophos, Detica, QinetiQ and the Cabinet Office), this national competition is “designed to excite and inspire anyone considering a career in the cyber security industry.”

Consisting of a series of online games and face-to-face competitions, it is devised to flush out individuals and teams with superior cyber security talent from every walk of life.

Among the prizes that await the winners are:

  • Places on the Detica Academy
  • Funded or part-funded places for masters-level university security courses
  • Funded security courses provided by SANS Institute
  • Memberships of trade bodies and professional associations
  • Professional mentoring sessions
  • Time on the CREST penetration test rig
  • Delegate passes to industry conferences
  • An internship at one of the UK’s premier security companies.

“Prizes will be allocated based on individuals’ ambitions and the stage they are at in their career,” says on the official website. “The Challenge will provide participants with the opportunity to use world-class technology and facilities that would otherwise be inaccessible. It will also provide a way for individuals to meet with, work with, and learn from some of the UK’s most prominent organisations in cyber security, education and politics.
Those who demonstrate excellent levels of skill and talent will be exposed to potential employers who will look favourably on anyone who can perform well throughout the Challenge.”

The Challenge has been officially launched today by Baroness Neville-Jones, Minister for Security, and two competitions have been unveiled as part of the launch:

  • QinetiQ Network Defence Competition – teams pitted against each other in two categories: 6th form /school-leavers and undergraduate/postgraduate university teams will be securing and defending their small and medium networks against attacks from cyber security professionals
  • SANS Institute and Sophos Treasure Hunt – an online game suitable for all ages and all levels of experience that will be run on specific dates between September and December this year, it will consist of identifying security flaws on a dummy website and of answering questions based on the found issues.

Winners of these challenges will be invited to attend the Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass, along with the successful participants of the DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge currently underway.

“We are calling on students, graduates and anyone with an interest in cyber security, to come forward and test their skills. The variety and excitement of the cyber security industry is one of the UK’s best kept secrets, it faces new, dynamic challenges everyday,” says Judy Baker, Director of Cyber Security Challenge UK. “The Challenge will demonstrate how important and exciting this profession is and help the nation’s best, undiscovered talent achieve their cyber security career ambitions.”

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