Cyber Security Challenge offers new espionage cipher and announces official app

The Cyber Security Challenge is to launch a new cipher and its first mobile application.

Announced at an event in London this week, the PwC-developed cipher will be around a concept of a highly-sensitive piece of data that has been stolen from an executive's machine. Participants will require basic network traffic analysis skills, alongside programming or scripting skills and knowledge of cryptographic algorithms, which add a mathematical element to the puzzle.

According to the Cyber Security Challenge, those who tackle the cipher will be challenged to understand, unravel and piece together the attacker's actions and determine whether the stolen file can be decoded. It also said that it will demonstrate the type of targeted network intrusion and data compromise that affect companies on a daily basis.

Kris McConkey, leader of PwC's cyber threat detection and response practice, said: “Intellectual property, trade secrets, customer databases and corporate and personal communications are a key currency in organised crime and economic espionage.

“By developing a more realistic scenario, this cipher will test a far broader and deeper spectrum of skills than any we have previously run and more accurately reflects the nature of incident response engagements our team here at PwC conducts for clients day in, day out.”

The app, which will contain new competitions and puzzles and archived ciphers, will be available to download for free from the iTunes app store in the coming weeks and will be available on both iOS and Android.

Stephanie Daman, CEO of the Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “The challenge has already proven that there are many people out there who have the skills, aptitude and characteristics to become a UK cyber defender but who don't realise quite how capable they are. It is up to the challenge to find new ways of reaching these people, helping them acknowledge their talent, and nurturing it. This smartphone app is the latest addition to our armoury.”

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