Cyber Security Challenge UK announces first finalists


Cyber Security Candidates

Cyber Security Candidates

Sophos HQ in Abingdon on Saturday 14th January was the scene for the first face-to-face encounter in this year’s Cyber Security Challenge UK. Thirty talented candidates from across the UK battled in a malware hunt which exposed them to some of the criminal world’s nastiest pieces of malicious code, housed within the Sophos vaults.

Just 11 made it through to the next round, The Masterclass Final, held in Bristol on March 10th. Leading the way was Tim Pullen, a software engineer from Cheltenham, who finished top of the pile and is guaranteed a share of the career enhancing prizes on offer.

Tim Pullen (First Finalist)

Tim Pullen (First Finalist)

”I have always been interested in this stuff”, said Pullen after hearing of his success. “We have a cyber security team at work but as I am not in, I only get to work on odd bits and pieces. Signing up for the Challenge was really for a bit of fun and an opportunity to learn a bit more about what the professionals do for a living. I can’t wait to see what the Challenge throws at us next.”

The Sophos Malware Hunt was the first of three competitions that will see 86 competitors battle it out to be crowned Cyber Security Champion at the Masterclass finals.

Contestants in the Sophos competition were faced with real life malware in tests developed by the company’s industry experts. They were assessed on their ability to identify and resolve malicious code, just as a real life cyber security professional would.

James Lyne, Director of Technology Strategy at Sophos said: “The malware encountered by the candidates today is typical of what our experts in SophosLabs see every day across the globe. At Sophos we now see an average of 150,000 new malicious samples each day. The competition we set candidates today tested their skills in identifying malware, preventing data theft and understanding how to avert future incidents on devices, all skills needed to succeed in an environment like SophosLabs or indeed any business.”

For this round, advanced knowledge of malicious code and disassembly were not required. Instead competitors were tested on their analytical mind and keen attention to detail. Judy Baker, Director of the Cyber Security Challenge UK, said the standard seen this year was extremely high.

“We have been extremely impressed with the level of talent in this competition,” said Baker. “It’s clear the UK has very skilled individuals in the field of cyber space, but many are unaware they have such abilities and know little about the exciting job opportunities available. We have noticed throughout the Challenge how surprised competitors are when they find out how well they have done. The Challenge is bringing the talent to the fore and giving our community of candidates the impetus to go out and investigate these careers with a new found confidence that they have the fundamental skills employers want.”

The winners have all made it through to the grand final, the HP and Cassidian run Masterclass, which requires candidates to take the skills demonstrated in previous rounds and apply them in an ultra-realistic business setting.

All the winners who reached the final will automatically receive a year’s subscription to the National Skills Academy for IT. This gives them unlimited access to over 1000 online training courses, a 24/7 mentoring service to help with their learning, 240 eBooks, express guides on vendors’ new hardware and software releases and articles from leading IT experts.

The overall winner from today and over 25 other winners of Challenge competitions will receive more prizes after the Masterclass in March. These will be specially selected to fit the individual’s ambitions and career plans from a pool of career building and education-focused options such as memberships of professional bodies, private sector training courses, bursaries for university courses and paid internships with leading companies.

The next event in the Cyber Security Challenge is in London on Saturday 21st January 2012.

This entry was written by Zac , posted on Monday January 16 2012at 05:01 pm , filed under Education & Training, Events, Security, Social Networking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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