Duo of ‘Golden Ticket’ passes on offer for biggest cyber security competition of 2016

PwC has been unveiled as the lead sponsor for the “most sophisticated” Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass event to date, which is to be staged from 2-4 November in London. In addition, a competition organised by Cyber Security Challenge UK and PwC will see two ‘Golden Ticket’ passes* offered to fast-track winners to the Masterclass final.

The 2016 Masterclass final promises to be the most immersive Cyber Security Challenge UK competition that has been run so far. The 42 finalists who qualify for the competition will compete against each other in teams to investigate a cyber attack on a fictional high-profile energy company, which national security organisations believe to have been linked to breaches earlier in the year.

Contestants will act as mock PwC consultants called in to uncover the root cause of the breach, monitor and protect the “client’s” estate and report back on the findings, battling around the clock as the simulated attack unfolds in real-time within a high pressure environment.

Candidates can qualify for the Masterclass through the Challenge’s online and face-to-face competitions throughout the year or, for the first time, through a fast-tracked route consisting of a one-off intensive challenge set by PwC. This competition is made up of a series of levels of increasing difficulty, with the final stages designed to highlight those with advanced cyber skills.

The top two participants will then bypass the normal qualifying rounds of the Challenge’s face-to-face competitions and head straight to the Masterclass to battle it out with the highest cyber security achievers of the year.

It’s not too late to enter via the normal route. For the best chance to qualify, candidates should enter both the fast-track option and the main competition.

Once the finalists have reached the Masterclass, they will then be assessed both as teams and individually on technical, interpersonal and decision-making skills, all of which are highly-sought after by cyber security employers.

Consortium of leading organisations

PwC and Cyber Security Challenge UK have assembled a consortium of leading organisations to deliver the competition alongside them, the constituents of which include GCHQ, the National Crime Agency and the Bank of England. A panel of expert Judges from across UK industry and Government will then select the winners, including the new Cyber Security Challenge UK champion.

The winners will take home their share of a carefully selected pot of prizes including university bursaries, professional accreditation, access to industry events and professional internships. With its sponsors’ support, the Challenge has already handed out hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of career-enabling rewards to hundreds of the UK’s leading amateur cyber defenders, a number of whom have since moved into roles within the profession.

Over the years, over 50% of the contestants in the Challenge’s face-to-face and Masterclass competitions have moved on to occupy jobs in the cyber industry.

Designed to strengthen the national pool of cyber skills, the aim of Cyber Security Challenge UK is to offer a unique programme of activities to introduce sufficient numbers of appropriately skilled individuals to learning and career opportunities within the profession.

New level of intensity

Stephanie Daman, CEO at Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “PwC and the consortium of sponsors have worked tirelessly to ensure that this challenge embodies the work we’ve carried out to date, but also brings a fresh level of excitement to the competition. As we build on the reputation we’ve established in the past, this competition rises to a new level of intensity, but our aim remains the same – to give candidates an opportunity to test their skills in real life environments and situations.”

Richard Horne, cyber security partner at PwC, explained: “Cyber threats are increasing in complexity and scale, targeting not only vulnerable systems, but also vulnerable business processes and people. As lead sponsor and designer of this year’s Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass, we aim to test a combination of candidates’ analytical and technical excellence as well as business skills in a high pressure, real-time environment that’s similar to what they could expect to face in a real world situation.”

Horne also stated: “Cyber security can often be seen merely as a technical subject, but a well-rounded cyber expert today possesses a diverse skill set, with not only the technical know-how, but also wider business skills such as creativity, organisation, relationship building and communication. We look forward to inviting the finalists to this year’s competition, and also helping to develop the next generation of cyber talent here in the UK.”

*To obtain one of the two fast-track places to take part in the Masterclass, candidates must fit the eligibility requirements of the competition. However, the competition may be played by anyone for entertainment purposes

Programme of activities

With the backing of founding sponsors like the SANS Institute, the Challenge started out in 2010 to create a series of virtual and face-to-face competitions that would identify talented people for the cyber security industry. Now entering its sixth year, the Challenge is backed by over 50 of the UK’s most prestigious public, private and academic sector organisations. It hosts a wide programme of activities designed to spread the word about why cyber security is such a fulfilling and varied career and helps talented people obtain their first cyber security jobs.

Working from school level right through to assisting career changers, the Challenge is making a notable difference to the career prospects of those with the talents and aptitude to become cyber security professionals.

*Further detail is available online at https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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