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Record number of competitors team up to reverse the threat

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Australia’s flagship national cyber security challenge, CySCA (Cyber Security Challenge Australia) is on again around Australia on 9-10 October 2018, bringing together a record number of Australian tertiary students to battle real-world cyber attacks on a purpose-built Telstra network.

For the 427 students taking part, it’s a foot in the door of Australia’s cyber workforce, which like elsewhere in the world, is suffering a shortage of skilled workers at a time when cybercrime is growing.

‘Cybercrime harmed more than six million Australians in 2017,’ says Lynn Moore, head of Engagement, Operations and Intelligence at the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), which developed the challenge over eight months with business and government partners. ‘In spite of this upward crime trend domestically and globally, as a nation we’re facing a critical shortage of skilled cyber workers to defend against harm.’

A recent study found Australia’s domestic cyber security industry would have to employ at least 11,000 additional workers in the 10 years to 2026 to keep building an information security sector that advances national cyber security and safety for individuals and businesses.

‘Cyber security skills are crucial given the breadth of cybercrime Australian businesses are routinely exposed to,’ Ms Moore says, ‘which affects every type of business that uses a computer, for anything from payments to email to customer databases. In 2016 alone, a staggering 43 per cent of cyber attacks were aimed at small businesses with an average cost of $10,000.’

‘CySCA raises the profile of cyber security as a vocation, and the many pathways into it, including entry level positions that snare and foster talent from the ground up.’

Ms Moore adds that it’s a sad truth that women comprise only 11 per cent of the cyber security workforce in Australia. ‘With half of Australia’s talent pool missing from the workforce, we risk missing out on innovations that will build national cyber resilience. We need to do more to engage women and girls in becoming part of a diverse cyber workforce.’

The 24-hours of intense hack-tion takes place live at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and campuses around Australia from Midday, Tuesday 9 October 2018. One hundred and nine teams of four competitors each, including 39 TAFE students from 11 institutions, unpack tailor-made, real-world cyber security challenges, testing technical skills and communication know-how in areas like forensic analysis.

CySCA is an important part of Australia’s government, business and educational institutions’ collective effort to address the cyber skills gap, and coincides with Stay Smart Online Week 2018 that raises awareness of the simple actions we can all take to defend against cybercrime.

‘Fantastic live events like CySCA 2018 are about attracting talented young people to careers in cyber security in an era when the most prolific crimes against authorities – public and private – are cyber-enabled crimes,’ Ms Moore says. ‘To build a diverse workforce that can provide the best cyber defences, we need to raise awareness about the broad range of roles and skills required of cyber security professionals now and into the future.’

CySCA facts:

  • CySCA 2018 is the sixth national cyber security challenge, run by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) in partnership with government, business and academic institutions.
  • CySCA takes its place alongside other national cyber competitions, including Cyber Security Challenge UK, NZ Cyber Challenge and the US Cyber Challenge.
  • Eight teams will play live from the 2018 Australian Cyber Conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, against virtual competitors from other tertiary institutions around the country.
  • Amazing prizes are on offer, including travel to the 2019 DEF CON Hacking Conference in Las Vegas.
  • The University of New South Wales returns as defending champion.
  • Awards will be presented at the ACSC headquarters in Canberra later in 2018.
  • The ACSC is proud to collaborate with the following partners to deliver CySCA: Telstra, Cisco, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, PwC, Splunk, Hacklabs, Microsoft, BAE Systems, AustCyber and the Australian Information Security Association (AISA).

Source: ACSC

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