With cyber crime on the rise, spy agency GCHQ is organising an online game to spot potential new recruits with the right cyber security skills – pitching candidates in a battle against a fictitious foe called The Flag Day Associates
As part of the game, called Astute Explorer, potential recruits will be asked to search for vulnerabilities in the company’s network and suggest ways to close them before attackers can take advantage.
The event is part of the Cyber Security Challenge, an annual competition which begins with online tests and whittles down entrants to find a small number of people with the right talents to work in secretive IT departments in the private sector and spy agencies alike. The Telegraph covered the final of last year’s event, deep in the Cabinet War Rooms under Westminster, where teams were placed in a two-day realistic cyber-attack scenario.
This year’s programme has already launched and, for the first time, introduces a fictitious enemy – The Flag Day Associates – who will be a constant and recurring theme throughout the competition.
Investigating the motivation and location of this enemy will be a fundamental part of the competition. GCHQ’s game follows on from another organised by security software company Sophos which, over the weekend, tasked the public with analysing a hard-drive recovered from the group.
The Sophos competition revealed plans for a future attack on “Ebell Technologies”, described as an aerospace and electrical engineering company, who are world leaders in the production of military and civilian aircraft, green energy technologies such as wind turbines, and a variety of electronics products.
As part of the Astute Explorer game, potential security recruits are told that Ebell have learned of the attack and gone to GCHQ to seek help. They will be tasked with finding potential vulnerabilities and closing them before they can be exploited by attackers.
GCHQ’s Chris Ensor said: “We have designed Astute Explorer to really test candidates’ cyber security skills. At GCHQ, like many other high tech organisations, we recognise the need for a skilled workforce which is why we are delighted to once again support the Cyber Security Challenge to inspire the next generation of cyber security talent.”
The best potential candidates will be chosen during the game and selected to take part in a series of face-to-face assessments at secret locations around the UK.
Stephanie Daman, CEO of the Cyber Security Challenge, said: “Astute Explorer is an ingenious game from GCHQ which will not only provide an enjoyable challenge but will test skills that are in high demand by employers in this sector. I would encourage anyone with an interest in how IT systems and the information they hold can be protected to sign up and give it a go.”