UK cyber security boot camp looking for future talent

September 10, 2012

Organizers of a cyber security boot camp in the UK are hoping that the four-day event will give tech-savvy attendees the desire to work on preventing potential threats and attempted hacks rather than crossing to the dark side.

According to the BBC, this is the first time that an event combining education and practical uses of security Software-as-a-Service has been held, and the aim is to give pre-college entrants and university students a taste of the cyber security industry. Twenty-two people have been chosen to attend the boot camp, which is funded by the Department of Education and sponsored by technology firms looking to recruit fledgling cyber security experts.

The number of cyber attacks in the UK is increasing, and GCHQ, the British agency responsible for monitoring threats and providing signals intelligence, estimates that hackers target the government at least 1,000 times per month. Industry analysts believe that cyber crime costs the UK at least £27 billion per year, and British universities are currently offering 79 courses dedicated to cyber security in 2013, ten more than were offered at this time last year.

Cyber camp challenge
"The cyber camp concept is something completely new for this year’s challenge," said Stephanie Daman, CEO of the Cyber Security Challenge UK. "It represents a great opportunity for our expert sponsors to work closely with a group of talented young amateurs to develop their skills and show them how exciting and varied the cyber security profession can be."

Attendees face a series of computer-based tasks and a number of informational briefings by on-site security experts during the camp. All of the simulations are based on real-life events or potential threat scenarios, with the students normally split into two teams and instructed to either attack or defend their allocated threat.

"We got together and hacked each other to see how we could get into each other's systems," says Callum Vickers, 22, who feels that hackers do it for the thrill rather than the destruction. "Someone who possesses the skills of any of us here today can really mess around with systems and easily cause havoc."

Members of the Cyber Security Challenge, including the Metropolitan Police Central e-crime Unit and KPMG, will use the four-day extended workshop to introduce the attendees to digital forensics, informed defense and creative security solutions. They will also be given guidance as to how to hone their skills in such a way as to be attractive to future employers.

-McAfee Cloud Security