Cyber Security Challenge launches cyber anti-terrorism competition

Sophos and Cyber Security Challenge UK are currently working together to recruit amateur cyber defenders to partake in a competition to find the country's best cyber defenders. The competition, Assignment: Flag Drive, entails the participants breaking into a fictional cyber terrorist's hard drive, and hacking into CCTV networks as well as a variety of ‘Internet of Things' devices.

The challenge involves skills which security professionals would need in the workplace, as well as allowing budding counter-terror and cyber-crime investigators to work in situations tackled by the security industry.

Assignment: Flag Drive follows the story of a group of terrorists planning a cyber attack on the UK, which ends in March 2015 with the Masterclass final - where a select group chosen from the thousands of people already signed up, will take on the ‘Flag Day Associates' (the fake terrorist group). The challenge began when a video was uploaded by the ‘Flag Day Associates' at this year's Masterclass awards in March, warning of their planned cyber-attack on the UK, and revealing the possible date of the attack. This was followed by the National Crime Agency releasing the first clue of the challenge: a suspicious email possibly sent between members of the group which was later traced to an abandoned warehouse in the English countryside, housing only an encrypted hard drive. Participants will be asked to hack this hard drive to find out as much information as they can about the ‘terrorists' and their planned attack.

The best performing candidates from the task will be selected to attend meetings as part of the challenge, with the most impressive of those reporting for duty in secret locations around the UK; carrying out investigations in face-to-face teams. From this, the final group of cyber defenders will be chosen to go against the Flag Day Associates at the Masterclass next year.