Students encouraged to put their hacker skills to good use
Three major federal organizations are looking to include 10,000 high school and college students in what's being dubbed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies the "US Cyber Challenge." CSIS is making three challenges available to young Americans looking to both better themselves in the field of cyber-security and potentially earn themselves a position as a security specialist in one of the high-profile federal organizations (like the NSA or FBI) that deal with security of the utmost importance on a daily basis.
The Air Force Association is putting on the Cyber Patriot Defense Competition; the gist of the competition is to demonstrate the most effective techniques in preventing an attack on a corporate network from malicious intruders. The SANS institute is taking the opposite approach with its Netwars competition, by challenging participants to successfully break into simulated (but realistic) systems in a "capture-the-flag" format game. The Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center provides a less hacking-oriented Digital Forensics Challenge, where teams will use their skills to examine and investigate forensic data manufactured by the Department of Defense to try to gain access to hidden or encrypted data.
According to the AFA, the United States is the single most likely country to experience a crippling cyber-attack from terrorists. Because of this, the CSIS is looking for young students and IT workers who have or are interested in having expertise in the area of computer security. The participants in these challenges will be on the path to a career in security keeping any network safe, from a small corporate intranet to those super-secret documents tucked away by the high-profile federal organizations.