Feeds

GCHQ in new challenge for cyber security wannabes

So me lad, ye think ye can repel boarders, eh?

High performance access to file storage

GCHQ, the nerve centre for UK eavesdropping spooks, has launched a new attempt to persuade tech-savvy Brits to defend their nation rather than seek lucrative employment in private companies.

Officials at the Government Communications Headquarters are after potential cyber spooks aged 16 and over who are not already working in computer security and could possibly guard the country's networks against the hacking ambitions of hostile states, crooks and script kiddies.

But the spook hopefuls must first triumph in a Balancing the Defence game. The participants will analyse a fake government's networks for possible paths of intrusion, figure out the threats they face and suggest ways to defend them - while taking into account the increasingly tight purse-strings of the UK. The Q-Branch wannabes will have just one week, starting on 1 October, to be briefed on the scenario and submit their report.

"We hope this competition will uncover those who have the vital mix of technical ability and business awareness to make tough decisions in the best interest of an organisation," said Karl, the "architect" of the competition and such a secret spy his surname wasn't given.

"At GCHQ we are committed to finding and developing the new cyber security skills in the UK and these are the skills sets employers including ourselves are most interested in," he added in a tinned statement.

This latest test is part of the Cyber Security Challenge UK programme, which was started in 2010. Winners of Balancing the Defence will be invited onto the next stage of the programme, a face-to-face competition that will further whittle down the candidates. Another virtual competition will follow, after which the remaining contenders will get a real-life challenge with an Aston Martin Racing team and the IT infrastructure the crew relies on.

The final few will reach a Masterclass and Awards weekend in March, where a "range of career enhancing prizes" will be on offer. GCHQ bods didn't specifically say that a spook spot was waiting for anyone, mentioning bursaries, university courses and internships instead, but then, secrecy is in their nature.

The eavesdropping collective may a bit embarrassed to admit how much one of their crack specialists would earn, since another of its competitions, Can You Crack It?, yielded a job with a starting salary of just £25k.

Then again, a number of GCHQ's code-cracking conundrums have had hidden solutions within the main puzzle for top-notch spy wannabes to crack and stand out from the humdrum candidates. The masters of misdirection may well be diverting attention from the Bond-esque lifestyle they reallyoffers. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
Bad PUPPY: Undead Windows XP deposits fresh scamware on lawn
Installing random interwebs shiz will bork your zombie box
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.