Registration for the second Cyber Security Challenge opens today.

Following on from last year's inaugrual challenge, for which more than 4,000 people registered and was eventually won by Wakefield postman Dan Summers, this year introduces new competitions to attract an even bigger audience and offer more career-enhancing opportunities to successful candidates.


This year, competitions will run more frequently throughout the year and some will offer multiple opportunities to play. Also, three streams, each focusing on a specific aspect of a cyber security professional's role, have been defined to better suit capabilities: secure network design; informed defence; and investigate and understand.


Each stream features up to three separate competitions set by the challenge sponsors, varying from penetration testing to malware forensics and network defence. There are a total of eight scheduled competitions and each one tests a different cyber security skill.


Also Sophos and SANS Institute will combine to deliver a new variation of last year's Treasure Hunt competitio, while QinetiQ will run a network defence competition. SAIC will add its own competition to the mix, DC3 is already running another digital forensics challenge and Cassidian and HP Labs are developing 'The Masterclass' grand final.


As was the case last year, the best candidates from each competition will go through to a ‘stream final' where they will face winners from other competitions in the same stream. The best players in each of these finals then go through to The Masterclass grand final for the chance to become the next cyber security champion.


Jay Abbott, head of the competitions group at the challenge and the director of PWC's threat and vulnerability management practice, said: “Last year's challenge was a great success and we learned a great deal from our first batch of candidates. By feeding that back into our competition structure and design, this year's challenge is going to be bigger and a more comprehensive test that truly showcases the array of experiences encountered in a professional cyber security environment.


“Supported by some of the most prestigious organisations in cyber security we are now able to offer more competitions, more chances for players to prove their skills and more ways to win prizes. The new challenge definitely moves the game on. It offers a great introduction to those making a first attempt, and something different for those testing their mettle for the second time.”


James Lyne, director of technology strategy at Sophos, said: “Last year was a huge success in terms of identifying new talent and also introducing careers in the security industry as a real option to many people who had perhaps previously not considered it or thought they were not ‘good enough'.


“We've taken candidate feedback on both the challenges and the registration process into account and this year's new and enhanced challenges aim to make the whole experience even more fun and to test an even greater number of skills. We had a great uptake last year but hope to see even more candidates taking part this year, including some old faces from last time.”