General
26 Jul 2010

Wanted: Cyber Experts to Defend UK Online

Minister for Security declares Cyber Security Challenge UK Open: First competitions go live today

26th July 2010: Leading higher education organisations are at the heart of the UK’s first national hunt for future cyber security professionals launching today in central London. The Cyber Security Challenge UK is a series of online and face-to-face competitions designed by leading universities (including The Open University, Royal Holloway, Queen’s University Belfast), security companies, trade bodies and government departments. It is the UK’s response to a worrying shortage of skilled professionals in the cyber security sector, and the growing challenge of how to increase the resilience of the UK’s online presence with our existing human resources.

The Challenge will identify the most talented individuals across the UK education community capable of becoming our first line of defence against cyber attacks now and in the future. It will excite and inspire participants to consider a career as a cyber security professional.

More than 30 prizes are on offer for successful candidates. All have been selected for their ability to help winners progress education and career opportunities in the cyber security profession. They include
• Bursaries for university courses – eg £3,300 funding towards an MSc Electronics & Security, Queen's University, Belfast
• Places on top private-sector training courses – eg A two week placement on Detica Cyber Security Academy, places on Sans Institute training courses
• Access to professional expertise and resources – eg opportunities to use the CREST penetration testing rig
• Memberships of professional bodies – eg annual membership of the Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP), the British Computer Society (BCS), and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA).

From this morning, anyone interested in cyber security can register online to participate in the 2010 Challenge and have a chance to be crowned the UK’s Cyber Security Champion at www.cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk.

The Open University is a founding sponsor. It got involved because it understands the value of academia and industry working in harmony to address national challenges says Kevin Streater, Executive Director - IT&Telecoms.

“The Cyber Security Challenge UK deals with issues spanning both education and technology. We see it as an excellent opportunity to continue our long-standing partnerships with industry to address the national challenges facing our workforce. Education institutions can only offer cutting edge skills to their students when they understand what the current challenges are, and the skills required by industry to address them. The Open University is committed to helping organisations to find innovative ways to deal with these skills gaps.”

The Challenge is being officially launched by The Rt Hon Baroness Neville-Jones, Minister for Security who said:

“Cyberspace is woven into the fabric of our society; it is integral to our economy, our communities and our security. Defending all of our interests in cyberspace is a relatively small cadre of talented and highly skilled public sector and private sector cyber security professionals. This pool of professionals must grow and the Cyber Security Challenge UK offers an innovative and exciting way of attracting talented individuals to take up rewarding careers in this field.”

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