Competition will hunt those with skills to help protect UK businesses and national infrastructure from online threats
The UK is launching a new a cyber security challenge that aims to unearth people with the skills to develop the nation’s cyber defence strategy.
The initiative is being run by QinetiQ and (ISC)² with the support of the UK government and will initially focus on finding software and application developers capable of keeping the UK’s businesses and national infrastructure safe from cyber attacks.
Although a number of other cyber security challenges run each year the organisers of this one claim it is different as it emphasises secure software as the key, while many others focus on network-level security. However attacks like Stuxnet have shown the need to tighten up software and application security, organisers said.
The Cyber Security Challenge UK competition will look for people with the skills to find and fix vulnerabilities during the software development phase.
The best candidates will then head over to QinetiQ’s UK headquarters where they will attempt to show off their skills in writing secure code that will protect the UK’s critical infrastructure from online threats. QinetiQ is not giving away too much about the exact nature of the test, but did say that it involves, "writing secure code to move physical devices and protect a top secret facility from real life cyber-attacks."
"Cyber criminals are increasingly developing the capabilities to manipulate the software used to control key security systems," says Neil Cassidy, practice lead, cyber defence, security division, QinetiQ. "Attacks like Stuxnet highlight the fundamental impact which these attacks can have on national infrastructure, from power stations to military installations.
"At QinetiQ’s face-to-face stage of this competition, competitors will be responsible for securing the systems protecting a simulated top-secret facility," he added. "They must identify vulnerabilities in command software systems and work to anticipate security breaches to avoid attack."
"For too long, software that underpins business and much of our most vital critical national infrastructure has been written without appreciation for the need for security. Those with the right instincts have a significant opportunity to demonstrate new skills that are incredibly relevant today," added John Colley, managing director, (ISC)² EMEA.