By Max Clarke
Recent events, including the March 2011 hack of US government funded Voice of America website by an Iranian hacker and the more recent compromise of aerospace firm, Lockheed Martin, have once again brought the issue of cyber terrorism sharply to the public’s attention.
To counter what commentators are increasingly referring to as an battlefront, Cyber Security Challenge UK was launched back in 2009. By posing a series of online tasks replicating various security threats, candidates are tested for their ability to gage threats, protect important sites and track the responsible criminals.
"The Cyber Security Challenge is a superb example of the genuine partnership between government, academia and the private sector that needs to be built if we are going to achieve the larger and more highly-skilled cyber workforce we need", explained the Security Minister, the Rt Hon Baroness Pauline Neville Jones. "My own particular challenge to the current sponsors and potential new sponsors in this room is to collectively find the remaining funds required in order that we can all reap the benefits of inspiring another crop of talented individuals to be sat here with us this time next year."
Since the Challenge’s inception, several winners have emerged.
"This was the most intense and rewarding experience of my life," said one such winner, Wakefield based postman, Dan Summers. "I'm just so glad I did this. Having met the people in the industry and seeing how capable and welcoming they are, I'd love to work alongside them so I'll be looking closely at all the opportunities that have developed as a result of my involvement with the Challenge."
The last series of challenges’ runner up, a 17-year-old student with no computing qualifications, proved his mettle in the masterclass challenge and as a result might well find himself responsible for the digital security of the Nation.
In anticipation of the next round of challenges, DCS Digital Forensics, Cyber Security Challenge UK have again begun publicising the events, aiming to draw on Britain’s growing digital talent pool to ensure the best defence for this growing threat.