Winning the cyber security game

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Addressing skills shortages with innovative programmes

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8 May 2020 | 0

Europe was facing a serious deficit of skilled cyber security professionals before the COVID-19 crisis.

In late 2019, an ISC2 survey found the deficit of cyber security professionals in the EMEA could as much as 291,000, more than doubling over 2018.

No doubt the Europe-wide public health emergency will have done little to alleviate this issue. However, a key strategy to address the growing shortage of cyber security skills is cross and upskilling.

 

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Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet, in partnership with Cyber Ireland and Zero Days, has been working in this area with a series of events designed to give non-technical and technical personnel alike an opportunity to learn and exercise cyber security skills in a supportive, competitive environment.

Know as capture the flag (CTF) events, the digital sessions test participants in a gamified environment with challenges covering the likes of reconnaissance, reverse engineering, cryptography, coding and more.

According to Zero Days, up to 50 different challenge types can be employed.

Team play is actively encouraged, and the sessions have a sign-up period before each session where registrants can apply as a team or be assigned with others of similar skill levels.

With some sessions already run, the feedback is encouraging, says Susan Kelly, operations manager, Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet.

“Took part in today’s CTF and had a great time with an ad-hoc team. The advanced challenges were surprising – new and clever. We got the silver, hats off to the team that went home with gold. Absolutely recommended!” said one participant.

“Overall – I REALLY enjoyed the event. The experience of the environments, the types of challenges, the topics of the challenges, working in a team. Loved it. This will be my 1st of many!” said another. “It made you think outside the box, brought back some old skills I don’t use much anymore.”

“The moderators were very helpful and responsive – it all worked really well,” said one.

The next session runs on Wednesday 13 May at 12 noon.  Registration is open from Monday 11 May, with teams to be assigned for the unaligned before the session.

The event is free, with registration here https://www.ictskillnet.ie/training/virtual-capture-the-flag/

Whether looking to change career or upskill within the discipline, the CTF events are tailored to an individual’s experience to encourage the novice and challenge the skilled.

No previous experience is required, says ICT Skillnet’s Kelly.

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