Security Bytes

Jan 31 2011   9:12PM GMT

High school cybersecurity competition kicks off

Michael Mimoso Profile: maxsteel

The Center for Internet Security’s US Cyber Challenge today kicked off an online competition to identify high school students possibly interested in cybersecurity career. The Cyber Foundations competition is part of US Cyber Challenge’s overall goal of finding 10,000 Americans interested in pursuing cybersecurity as practitioners or researchers.

Rep. James Langevin (D-Rhode Island) will formally kick off the program tomorrow at a high school in his home state. Langevin heads the Congressional Cyber Caucus.

Cyber Foundations will provide tutorials and training material developed by the SANS Institute to high school students who register before Feb. 18. Registrants will then be able to take three quizzes in March and April, testing their knowledge and aptitude on networking, operating systems and system administration. Statewide winners will get cash prizes of up to $100 ; winners will be announced April 30.

This is one of several similar initiatives sponsored through USCC, a division of CIS. USCC conducts  competitions and camps nationwide to help individuals sharpen their cybersecurity skills and provide them with opportunities at internships and employment.

“If we are to be successful in protecting our critical infrastructure systems from cyber threats—whether intentional attacks or unintentional compromises—we must address our nation’s shortage of skilled cyber security professionals,” said James A. Lewis, director and senior fellow, technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  “The U.S. Cyber Challenge provides a range of opportunities to identify and nurture talented Americans to meet this national priority.”

Pilot programs were held in Rhode Island, California and Maryland. School systems in Texas, Delaware and Minnesota have also been recently added to the program.

“I’m so proud of our students in Rhode Island who piloted the U.S. Cyber Challenge Cyber Foundations competition last fall, and I look forward to expanded participation from more schools and students,” Langevin said. “By partnering with others in the cyber community, I hope this challenge will grow into a national model for inspiring and harnessing our young cyber talent.”

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