Soldiers face the greatest risks already, and now they are at risk of losing critical support at the hands of formidable hackers.
In a competition between 24 skilled cyber amateurs, IoT connected soldiers were hit by a sophisticated mock cyber attack.
When the example hacktivist group struck, candidates had to battle a man-in-the-middle attack, designed to secretly intercept and control communications, resulting in a loss of contact with the unit of soldiers.
This scenario mirrors an extremely dangerous situation in reality, leaving soldiers cut off from support in a potentially hostile situation and environment. Teams had to follow legal guidelines in formulating advice for a response.
The competition, conducted by Her Majesty’s Government Communications Centre (HMGCC), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and global security company BAE Systems, saw 24 competitors task with protecting IoT connected soldiers from a mock cyber attack.
Government awareness in regard to the military risks posed by cybersecurity has been increasing quickly, with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announcing £265 million in funding for military cyber systems in 2016.
Nigel Harrison, acting Chief Executive of Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “Cybercrime affects all organisations, whether that’s corporations, charities or even the military. Our events represent the scenarios that cyber security experts in the field could experience on a day-to-day basis, and the types of attacks they could come up against.”
The fostering and support of tech talent is essential throughout the industry, but especially in areas of critical importance where professionals must be capable of taking on and potentially defeating a cyber adversary.
Cathy Sutherland, Director, National Security, BAE Systems said: “Training, real-life experience and education are essential to develop future cyber security professionals. Working on programmes such as this puts us at the heart of finding the best talent, helping organisations stay safe from digital threats.”
Instances of presumed and proven nation state cyber activity has heightened the need for well organised, well supported cyber capabilities within militaries across the globe.
Paul Bleackley, Cyber Education Manager, Defence Academy of the UK said: “Cyber security is a huge area of focus for the UK military now, and bolstering our cyber capability is crucial for national security. We’re supporting this competition to help find and develop the cyber security talent out there and encourage them into roles that protect the country from the current and future threats.”
An HMGCC spokesperson said: “Our work involves the design and delivery of communication systems and technical solutions to protect national security at home and overseas, and finding people with the capabilities to keep delivering this is paramount. Through initiatives such as the Cyber Security Challenge UK, we can watch the future of the industry in action, and this gives us so much confidence as we see first-hand the talent that is available to us and the country as a whole.