Feeds

GCHQ in new challenge for cyber security wannabes

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

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
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
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'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
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.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.