Cyber Security Challenge seeks future high tech workers


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12:36 p.m., May 3, 2010----Delaware is one of only three states in the country holding 2010 Security Treasure Hunt competitions.

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The goal of these contests is to identify young men and women with the potential to become world-class cyber security professionals, and the state competition is being backed by a number of Delaware's higher education institutions, including the University of Delaware.

The Delaware Security Treasure Hunt is an online contest that will run now through May 16. Similar to a scavenger hunt, it is the primary qualification for competitors to earn a place at Delaware's 2010 Cyber Camp.

The competition is an online quiz that tests knowledge of computer, network, and web security and provides competitors a simulated environment where they can safely explore, find answers and return to the quiz.

Experts agree that America is critically short of individuals capable of stopping threats to our information systems.

“It is crucial that we address our current shortfalls in developing a high tech workforce for the future,” said Dave Wennergren, deputy assistant Secretary of Defense (Information Management, Integration and Technology) and deputy chief information officer at the U.S. Department of Defense. “I am very hopeful that the new U.S. Cyber Challenge will help us find this workforce for the future and increase the number of American children who go into computer science and engineering fields.”

“Work in cyber security, also known as computer, network, and software security, is growing rapidly due to everyone's increasing dependence on computers and the Internet in their daily lives,” said Chase Cotton, senior scientist in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and associate director for cybersecurity at UD's Center for Information and Communications Sciences. “These security skills are critical in the fight against cyber crime and to secure the systems we all use daily, like email, social networking, and banking. And the same skills are also being sought to help the government and military prepare to defend the country in this electronic arena.”

Delaware's Security Treasure Hunt is an important part of the overall U.S. Cyber Challenge, a nationwide effort looking for interested Americans with the skills to fill the ranks of cyber security practitioners and researchers. New York and California are also running their own Treasure Hunt competitions and camps. All three programs will nurture and develop students' skills and give them access to advanced education and employment opportunities and contacts.

Winners from the Security Treasure Hunt competition will a full scholarships to the Delaware Cyber Security Boot Camp, to be held Aug. 9-13 at Wilmington University, where they will receive advanced security training from Industry professionals.

Candidates who rise to the top at the camps will be invited to participate in live national challenges. The best of the candidates will be introduced to key federal agencies and corporations where the most advanced cyber security work is being done.

Although no promises of employment can be made, these organizations are facing extreme shortages of security experts with extraordinary, hands-on technical skills, and these organizations are assisting in the design and operation of the U.S. Cyber Challenge because they look forward to finding additional candidates for their most challenging assignments.

To compete, sign up at the Security Treasure Hunt website.

For rules and eligibility, see the Delaware challenge website.

Area colleges, state, and industry leaders including the University of Delaware, Wilmington University, Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI), Delaware Technical and Community College and the SANS Institute are supporting the program.