The Cyber-security Challenge UK began in 2010 as three competitions run by a small group of supporters from industry, government and academia to address the growing skills gap in the UK cyber-security profession. Now in its fourth year, the Challenge has grown its range of competitions to better represent the variety of skills currently demanded within the profession and is backed by over 75 sponsors from across government, industry and academia.
The 2013 Cyber-Camps at Glasgow Caledonian University and Defence Academy Shrivenam follow a hugely successful pilot run last year at Lancaster University and offered those who took part a chance to qualify for the grand final of the Challenge’s core programme of competitions – “the Master-class”.
The Glasgow Caledonian Cyber-camp started off with an evening reception hosted and attended by local security related SMEs. Informatics Ventures and Scottish Enterprise sponsored the first full day with a business-related cyber-challenge run by members of Strathclyde University’s Business School. This Dragons den style challenge was aimed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Scottish informatics and computer science.
The following day candidates took part in a Digital Forensics – eCrime Day run by the Scottish Police and the new National Crime Agency at the Police Training College in Tulliallan. A simulated crimes-scene was created and the candidates had to recover and analyse mobile devices for information that will assist a police investigation. As well as analysing the evidence, candidates were also be taught by the National Crime Agency how to present their findings as an expert witness in a trial scenario within a mock-court session (with real Sherriff and fiscals) in a court-room at the Scottish Police Training College. Candidates were also treated to an evening dinner and industry talks from RBS.
The camp culminated in a camp-versus-camp online game of attack and defence through the popular SANS Netwars platform, used to train cyber-security professionals in government departments and major corporations around the world. We are pleased to report that in the hacking head to head against the sister camp in Shrivenam that Scotland won by a clear 17%.
The camp will be run in a similar format next year and we will be looking for a new SICSA University to capitalise on this opportunity.
Darren Brooke, who qualified from the Glasgow Caledonian University camp said: “It’s been an unbelievable few days and getting through to the Masterclass is just awesome. Even without this, the whole camp has taught us so much about the profession, the career opportunities that are out there and the exciting job these guys have in cyber-security. If the Masterclass is anything like what we have been through in the Cyber-camp, it’s going to be a great day and we cannot wait!”
Stephanie Daman, CEO, Cyber-Security Challenge: “The quality of candidates across the two camps has been really encouraging, and it’s more than just the pure technical skills on show. What’s really heartening has been the enthusiasm for the subject and the appetite to learn more that has been obvious from all in attendance. That thirst for knowledge is a vital part of the makeup of a cyber-security professional and with a high quality line-up of cyber experts from the likes of Glasgow Caledonian University, Blackberry, GCHQ, Encription and many more, there has certainly been a lot of expertise for them to soak up. The whole weekend has demonstrated how people with talent but little idea how to apply it in a professional sense can very quickly begin to transform themselves into very good candidates for jobs, simply from spending some time with those already in the industry.”