InfoSec 2011: Cyber Security Challenge gets refresh

Cyber Security Challenge

The UK's Cyber Security Challenge today revealed additional competitions will feature in this year's contest, with a wider range of skills addressed.

One of the chief differences between this year's challenge and the inaugural one, which concluded earlier in 2011, will be the increased frequency of competitions.

Organisers have also put together three skill sets they want addressed, including secure network design and informed defence, as well as the ability to investigate and understand.

SAIC has joined the fold of platinum sponsors and will be running a competition where challengers will have their progress graphically tracked using the firm's CyberNEXS training model.

"It's a very objective way of analysing skills," said Robert Giesler, senior vice president of cyber programs at SAIC.

"We firmly believe competitions are the best way to show young people how to get involved this gamesmanship really fires up the imagination."

James Lyne, director of technology strategy at Sophos, said organisers including himself had listened to the feedback for the first challenge.

For instance, there will now be competitions based on Linux, rather than just Windows, as well as contests focusing on web applications.

Whilst the short-term goal of the challenge is to address the security skills gap facing the UK, one long-term aim is to see better provision for security teaching in schools, Lyne told IT PRO.

"If we want to fix this, IT teaching courses need to differ from conventional physics," he said.

"Build IT security into the curriculum we need expert skills in schools."

Giesler said generally there was an "appalling lack of knowledge" amongst school children around cyber security.

"They have no understanding of what malware is," he added. "Education can't be episodic, it needs to be continuous."

Lyne confirmed infrastructural changes had also taken place to ensure the smooth running of the challenge. When IT PRO spoke to contestants at the Cyber Security Challenge UK final, one complaint was contact with those running the competitions was not as effective or clear as it should have been.

Read on for all the latest news and interviews coming out of InfoSecurity 2011.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.