Students to Demonstrate Cybersecurity Skills in Annual Hacker Contest

Over the past few years, considerable attention has been given to the cybersecurity skills gap. In the post Enterprises Continue to Grapple with a Huge Cyber Security Skills Shortage we covered how the global cyber security workforce shortage is on pace to hit 1.8 million by 2022, a 20 percent increase since 2015,  according to the Global Information Security Workforce Study. That study found 68 percent of workers in North America think the workforce gap is due to a lack of qualified personnel.

Schools and cybersecurity organizations, both public and private sector, are taking steps to try to rectify the situation.

One such effort, for the third year, the Inter-ACE Challenge will pit a community of more than 300 students from twenty-five universities to compete in a capture-the-flag competition.

From those 300, according to Inter-ACE, the top 100 of those students will be selected to represent their university in another contest for the ultimate crown of the Inter-ACE Challenge 2018. Those winners will qualify to compete in Cambridge2Cambridge, a transatlantic cyber challenge held over three days later this year.

Inter-ACE is supported by continuous training and events, including online competitions and workshops that are designed to teach students much needed professional cybersecurity skills.

According to Inter-ACE, the primary goals are:

  • Attract new students to cyber security
  • Help them build a network of personal connections
  • Develop new training materials for undergraduate teaching of security
  • The long-term objective of the Inter-ACE is not merely to reward excellence in cyber security, but to build a new generation of skilled cyber defenders. An important goal is to get the competitors to mingle and build friendships with their like-minded colleagues so that, in ten years’ time, they’ll already know the CISOs and national security experts who attended top universities at the same time as them.

According to the University of Cambridge, the Inter-ACE competition is open to teams of students studying at any of the fourteen Academic Centers of Excellence in Cyber Security Research. Also, for the first time, eight universities which offer NCSC Certified Degrees and three universities which performed strongly at the ACE-CSR assessment panel, are also invited to send teams.

The Cambridge2Cambridge cyber security competition, according to this press release, is backed by government and industry, and comes from both the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The contest will see students face off over the three-day event. “In total, 110 students from 25 universities from the UK and USA will form mixed transatlantic teams and battle against a fictional rogue state in the life-like cyber security competition backed by the National Cyber Security Center and Cabinet Office” the release says.

The annual event is now in its second year with prize money up for grabs for the winners. It will be held from 24-26 July at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Professor Frank Stajano, head of the academic center of excellence in cyber security research at Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory. “The aim of the competition is also to bring together different individuals in a fun and inclusive environment, where they can apply their cyber security abilities in a collaborative and competitive setting, allowing students to implement the skills they have been taught, while learning new ones in the process,” he said of the same contest last year.

With the continuing skills shortage, and the rise in concerns surrounding state-sponsored attacks, both industry and governments could use all the prepared graduates they can find.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Business Insights In Virtualization and Cloud Security authored by George V. Hulme. Read the original post at: