Schoolchildren in the UK are to be given the chance to learn cyber security skills as part of a programme involving global defence and security company Northrop Grumman.
The organisation is to work with the government's Cyber Security Challenge UK, introducing its Cyber Patriot system as part of the company's commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
In the UK, the initiative is to be dubbed CyberCenturion, and it will mediate between the existing Cyber Security Challenge schools scheme and the main Challenge competition programme.
This will give youngsters the chance to progress from school learning, to their first application of their knowledge to real cyber scenarios and then to full-scale cyber security competitions.
CyberCenturion is played by youngsters aged 18 or below, with a responsible adult acting as the liaison between the organisers and the participants.
It features two rounds, both of which involve downloading a virtual computer image full of vulnerabilities that could be exploited by a cyber criminal. Teams have approximately six hours, within a window of two days, to find and correct these weaknesses.
Each vulnerability is assigned different scores depending on its complexity, with an increase from basic to advanced level weakness as teams progress from the first to the second round.
Final scores are calculated by adding together the results of both rounds and the top teams will face one another in a showdown in April 2015. The winners will be awarded prizes that could benefit their careers, such as internships at Northrop Grumman and places at industry conferences.
Andrew Tyler, chief executive Europe at Northrop Grumman, said: "This partnership is an important opportunity for us to work together with Cyber Security Challenge UK to apply our industry-leading knowledge and expertise in cyber to help build the UK's talent pool of cyber professionals of the future."
The team competition element of CyberCenturion begins in October with a practice round. A competition round will be held later that month, followed by the second contest in January 2015.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels