UK cyber security challenge launches to find the next generation of security experts

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Security organisations are to run a series of national public competitions to identify the UK's future cyber security workforce.

Security organisations are to run a series of national public competitions to identify the UK's future cyber security workforce.

The ‘Cyber Security Challenge UK' brings industry leaders together to design, build and implement a range of national ‘games' that replicate the problems cyber security professionals have to deal with every day.

The competitions will test the nation's cyber security skills, excite and inspire entrants to develop their talents, and identify the UK's future cyber security professionals.

Organisations involved include the Digital Systems Knowledge Transfer Network, the Institute of Information Security Professionals and the Information Security Awareness Forum. Also, the Metropolitan Police and Cabinet Office, Office of Cyber Security and the Information Assurance Advisory Council are involved, with the private sector represented by companies such as Dtex Systems, QinetiQ and Field Fisher Waterhouse.

Judy Baker, director of Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “We have to improve the quality and quantity of talented people entering the profession to accommodate escalating requirements. The current system is not delivering enough skilled professionals to meet the cyber security challenges we face. We need to excite, inspire and stimulate fresh interest in a career as a cyber security specialist. The competitions we are developing will do exactly that.”

Gerry O'Neill, CEO of the Institute of Information Security Professionals, said: “We are supporting the challenge because we believe that identifying and attracting the required cyber security talent is the starting point for professionalising a vital industry for national and business security.

“We see huge value in working with the industry to create an environment for cyber security professionals where employers with a need and employees with relevant skills are identified and introduced, and are subsequently provided with professional career paths.”

The team is already working with partners on ideas for three starter competitions in the fields of network defence, forensics and identifying security weaknesses in website code. Each competition will be open to individuals of any age and profession but some will be targeted at school leavers and undergraduate students. The management team is also looking at various options for round two, including a series of face-to-face challenges for successful contestants that might allow them to pass at a level of proficiency recognised by the profession.

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