GCHQ Security Competition Seeks Espionage Experts
The government’s intelligence agency is to hold a cyber-security competition to help close the UK’s cyber-espionage skills gap
GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), the government’s Cheltenham-based intelligence agency, is to hold a cyber-security challenge next month aiming to stimulate interest in the IT security profession and identify hidden talent.
‘Balancing the Defence’
The upcoming GCHQ-designed competition, called Balancing the Defence, will require players to analyse a mocked-up network similar to those typically found in government departments, and protect it from attacks by hostile states, organised criminal gangs or individual hackers.
Competitors must look for vulnerabilities an attacker could exploit, prioritise threats and suggest a range of technical and policy defences, while working to a tight budget.
“There is no such thing as a completely secure system – businesses will always need to balance where to spend a limited budget, to manage risks and provide opportunities,” said the designer of the competition, identified only as Karl. “This is why risk analysis is such as important and much sought-after skill in cyber security.”
The competition is open to British citizens resident in the UK, aged 16 or over, who are not already working in cyber-security. It will take place from Monday 1 October to Monday 8 October, during which time the candidates will be briefed on the scenario, and will submit a report with their proposed strategy.
The number of contestants will be limited to 150, with registration available on the website of the Cyber Security Challenge UK.
Thirty winners from this GCHQ competition and another Cyber Security Challenge UK event will continue on to the next round, to be held at the Banbury racing track. This will be followed by the Challenge’s final awards weekend on 9-10 March 2013, where winners will receive bursaries, internships, training and certification.
Earlier this month GCHQ warned businesses over cyber threats, with figures indicating Internet-based crime cost the UK over £1.8 billion in the last 12 months.
“GCHQ now sees real and credible threats to cybersecurity of an unprecedented scale, diversity and complexity,” wrote GCHQ director Ian Lobban in the foreword to the report.
GCHQ has also warned the parliamentary intelligence and security committee of a shortage of the skills needed to combat these threats.
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