BT, GCHQ And Cyber Cops Concocting Cyber Security Challenge Final

BT, GCHQ and Britain’s cyber police all hoping their efforts will land them with some hot new security talent

The Cyber Security Challenge’s efforts to find top talent should get a boost this year, as BT, GCHQ and the new National Cyber Crime Unit are working on the 2014 Masterclass final games.

The face-to-face final battle will take place in March 2014, as 42 of the top candidates from previous games will descend on a secret London location as they bid to become the UK’s new Cyber Security Champion.

GCHQ doughnut

GCHQ and BT collaborate again

BT, GCHQ and the National Cyber Crime Unit, which is part of the National Crime Agency, are all hungry to find security talent. They will work together in the coming months to design the final contests, but will also be hoping to employ competitors.

“We need skills in general security stuff… but within that there’s very deep skills, down into the depths of ethical hacking, penetration, networks, firewalls… all the skills you’d expect from a modern nation. The 40 or so people who make the final are hugely employable… the vast majority will be offered [something] by people like BT, GCHQ , the NCA, whoever,” Dr Bob Nowill, BT’s cyber director, told TechWeekEurope.

“We simply don’t have enough of those skills.”

Jonathan Hoyle, GCHQ’s director general for government and industry cyber security, added: “The beauty of the Cyber Security Challenge UK is that the competitors include a real mix of self-taught talent who bring an unconventional and innovative approach to the challenges. That innovation is really important to the UK in tackling cyber threats today and in the future.”

Nowill, a former GCHQ worker from Cheltenham, said there was no awkwardness surrounding BT’s work with GCHQ, despite claims off the back of leaks of intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden that the two were collaborating on surveillance operations on the British public.

“We have a customer-supplier relationship,” he added. “There’s stuff in the newspapers but nothing we can comment on.”

Head of the NCCU, Andy Archibald, recently told TechWeekEurope the force was keen to get hold of people with the skills to de-anonymise crooks on the Tor network.

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