Cyber attack simulation unearths fresh talent

This year’s first Cyber Security Challenge UK has taken place, with 30 of the country’s top amateur cyber practitioners coming together to defend against a simulated attack.

Hosted by Protection Group International (PGI), the event saw teams attempting to thwart a cyber attack on a connected car company, similar to the 2016 Mirai DDoS IoT Botnet attack. Participants had to infiltrate internet-enabled GPS devices and identify potential vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit, thereby protecting the system from future attack.

Candidates were tested on their ability to ethically hack devices, and assessed by industry experts on their skills in network analysis, digital forensics and brute force attacks. The competition was the first semi-final in a programme backed by the UK Cabinet Office, designed to uncover cyber security talent and help plug the growing skills gap in the sector. The projected global shortfall of cyber security workers is predicted to reach 1.8 million by 2022.

“The pace of technological change that our society is undergoing creates an even greater demand for a wide range of cyber security skills,” said Stephanie Daman, CEO at Cyber Security Challenge UK. “PGI’s Face-to-Face competition reflects this change and illustrates the latest skills that professional organisations require such as knowledge of connected devices and ethical hacking abilities.”

The competition was won by team ‘Turing’, which featured Michael Senior, Dennis Jackson, Andrew Walsh, and 17-year-old James Nock. Nock and Jackson are among ten candidates who have been invited to take part in a cyber security masterclass in November.

“Five of today’s 30 candidates are under 18, showing that there is some great talent at the younger ages,” said Daman. “These competitions are crucial for providing an outlet for their skills and demonstrating that cyber security is a great career for them.”