Govt challenges university hackers to break virtual businesses

The Australian government has opened up next year's hacking competition to university students, issuing the challenge to break into and fix a virtual business.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Australia has a new cybersecurity competition following the nation's previous success in the Cyber Defence University Challenge, which was launched earlier this year.

Building on the last challenge, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) has teamed up with Telstra and Microsoft to establish the Cyber Security Challenge Australia 2013 (CySCA).

Although the university title has been dropped from the challenge's name, it is still aimed at Australian undergraduates, in order to encourage them to build information security skills.

"CySCA 2013 reinforces the government's commitment to ensuring that Australia builds the ICT and cybersecurity skills base that it needs in order to grow both Australia's burgeoning digital economy and protect our online interests," said DBCDE deputy secretary Abul Rizvi in a statement.

"There is a growing demand for ICT security skills and expertise in Australia and internationally, so efforts must be made to increase that pool of ICT and cybersecurity professionals."

In the university challenge that preceded it, entrants were required to conduct penetration tests, make forensic examinations, and build defences for a pre-made medical practice within a virtualised environment.

The challenge for the 2013 year has not yet been announced, but entrants will be able to compete remotely, and, true to the spirit of most hacking challenges, it will run for a full 24 hours.

Participants will again be required to assess the security of a fictitious business, and, more than just identifying vulnerabilities, demonstrate that they are able to protect the business against attack.

Telstra is again sponsoring the top three places, sending the winners to the 2013 Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas, and providing the second- and third-place winners with phones and tablets.

Editorial standards