Conroy uses Black Hat carrot on students

The government, Telstra and Australian universities have teamed up to create a security competition that pits students against each other in a bid to raise the profile of security issues.

The government, Telstra and Australian universities have teamed up to create a security competition that pits students against each other in a bid to raise the profile of security issues.

Security researcher Barnaby Jack demonstrates how he bypassed the security of two ATMs.
(Credit: Declan McCullagh/CNET)

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said that the challenge will lob problems to undergraduates in a virtual network. It will be held over a 24-hour period between 3 April and 4 April, hosted by the universities. Undergraduates studying computer science or other related degrees can register a team with their university.

The winners of the challenge will score a trip to the 2012 Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas, US, in July this year.

Black Hat is one of the most high-profile events on the cybersecurity calendar, where information security professionals from businesses, government and research groups get together for multiple practical sessions, demonstrating possible exploits to keep everyone on their toes.

In 2010, an exploit was shown that forced an ATM to spit out cash on the Black Hat stage. Last year, a researcher showed how to open and start a car remotely by infiltrating its mobile-based security system.

The government decided to run the challenge, dubbed the 2012 Cyber Defence University Challenge, in answer to a lack of cybersecurity awareness, especially in universities, noted by industry in consultation for the creation of the government's Cyber White Paper. The whitepaper will be released later this year.

"The need for greater awareness of cybersecurity issues and for more high-skilled ICT graduates were two of the key themes to emerge from the public engagement process associated with the government's Cyber White Paper, due for release later this year," Conroy said in a statement.

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