BAE trains Britain’s elite cyber team for European Cyber Security Grand Championships

Ten of the UK’s best cyber enthusiasts are representing Britain in the 2017 European Cyber Security Challenge (ECSC) this week in Malaga. Britain’s best cyber talent will be tested in a series of cyber security challenges, examining skills from network analysis to digital forensics and cryptography. The UK team will be competing against teams from 15 countries including Spain, Germany, Ireland, Romania and Austria.

This year’s team includes 18-year-old Masterclass winner Ben, a Brazilian Ju-Jitsu enthusiast and avid gamer; heavy metal and polo loving Sophia – whose cyber forensic skills helped her team win a JP Morgan coding challenge earlier this year; and Matt who, after successfully competing in Cyber Security Challenge UK competitions, has been working in various industry roles for the past two years. All of Team UK’s players are led by members of the Cyber Security Challenge UK team and are coached by Tim Pullen, a cyber expert at BAE Systems.

“It is really important to support the next generation of cyber security talent, not only to ensure more young people take up cyber security as a career, but also to show the rest of the world the UK’s amazing cyber security capabilities,” said Tim Pullen, Operational Cyber Practice Head at BAE Systems. “We support Cyber Security Challenge UK as competitions like theirs and the ECSC can help to unearth talent which would be missed through traditional recruitment processes and is critical to continue to grow the cyber security sector.”

The competition, taking place this week, offers a chance for top cyber-talents in Europe to meet, network, collaborate and compete against one another to determine which country has the best skills. Young cyber talents discovered at the competition are encouraged to pursue careers in cyber security and use their European connections across their professional journeys.

“This competition is important for the UK to showcase our talent to the rest of the continent,” said Debbie Tunstall, Head of Education Programmes, Cyber Security Challenge UK. “We are excited about the progress we’re making in the UK and the level of talent we find on a daily basis through our competitions and events. We have a great team heading to Malaga with us and we’re sure they will do us all proud during this intense and somewhat demanding competition.”

The ECSC competition has been developed in response to the growing popularity of cyber security challenges across the continent. These challenges have proven to be a great source of talent and recruitment for companies across the cyber security landscape, including government organisations, banks and financial institutions, energy suppliers and communications providers. The competition also allows international companies to see which country is home to the best of the best. Each country operates its own national competitions to recruit teams for the European competition.

To find out more about the team, you can access their individual profiles here.

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2017 Cyber Security Summit & Expo: the must-attend London event for cyber risk and GDPR

Key figures from government agencies, cyber specialists and leading businesses converge on 16th November at the London Business Design Centre to establish a cross-sector response to cyber risk and data protection at the one-day 2017 Cyber Security Summit & Expo, and co-located General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Conference. 

Organised in association with HM Government, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and the National Crime Agency, the Cyber Security Summit and Expo is the UK’s largest one-day event dedicated to vital business cyber risk management and prevention. The event hosts over 2,000 cyber security and data protection experts sharing insights with more than 450 senior business leaders, government policymakers and cyber security pioneers, including those responsible for critical national infrastructure. 

Key Summit speakers include Nausicaa Delfas, Chief Operating Officer at the Financial Conduct Authority; Oliver Gower, Deputy Director of the National Cyber Crime Uniat the National Crime Agency; and Dan Trueman, Chief Innovation Officer & Head of Cyber at Novae Group. Click here for full Summit speaker details. 

Running in conjunction with this event is the free-to-attend Cyber Security Expo and highly topical GDPR Conference boast programme of practical cyber preparedness seminars. These include Hackchat sessions to explore what can be learnt from hacking attacks, and a cyber exchange networking and resources hub sponsored by NCSC, the Expo offers hands-on networking and learning opportunities. 

Key Expo speakers include Ben Westwood, Senior Privacy Manager & Data Protection Officer at eBay UK; Vicki Gavin, Head of Business Continuity at The Economist; and Peter Brown Group Manager at the Information Commissioner’s Office. Click here for full Expo speaker details. 

David Roberts, Event Director at GovNet, organiser of the event, said, “It has now become paramount that public and private sectors must work together to meet head on the challenge of Cyber and data protection. The Cyber Security Summit and Expo is a unique and ideal platform to share best practice concerning risk reduction, business continuity strategy, and system resilience. 

“Given the risk of financial loss, disruption or reputational damage to all organisations that Cyber breaches now represent from alarmingly frequent, continual and ever more complex attacks, the insights that can be gained in just one day at this event could play a crucial role in shifting the balance in your favour.” 

Now in its 8th year, the Cyber Security Expo and GDPR conference are free to attend, while the Summit is a paid entry event. Click here for full details and registration. 

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Education sector rivals tech industry in the race to GDPR compliance

New research from leading information security company Clearswift has shown that the education sector is rivaling technology for the top spot when it comes to GDPR preparedness.

The research surveyed 600 senior business decision makers and 1,200 employees across the UK, US, Germany and Australia. When asked whether firms currently have all of the necessary processes in place to be compliant the top five performing sectors included technology and telecommunications (32%), education (31%), IT (29%), business services (29%) and finance (29%).

The survey has also revealed, of all the sectors, healthcare is the least likely to be ready for the upcoming GDPR, with only 17% of private and public sector bodies claiming to have the processes in place to comply with the legislation. Following closely behind is the retail sector with a mere 18% of the industry ready for GDPR, and marketing at 19% and legal at 21%.

Overall, the research has shown that only a quarter (26%) of businesses are currently ready for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However with the deadline fast approaching, a further 44% are putting processes in place and expect to be ready in time for May next year, when the legislation comes into force.

Dr Guy Bunker, SVP of Products at Clearswift, said: “With 64% of UK businesses currently making moves towards GDPR compliance, the outlook is not as bleak as previously thought.

“It is clear that the regulation has grabbed the attention of businesses, but what is important is that their focus is in the right place. Those viewing GDPR as an opportunity will be in the best position to not only comply, but evolve their organisations, enhance their security posture and achieve business growth.”

“Educating employees about how to safeguard critical information, introducing data protection guidelines and instilling a culture of data consciousness in the workplace will not only bring organisations closer to compliance but help reduce the chances of a data breach.”

Although the majority of businesses may not currently be ready for GDPR, employers have begun to identifying the departments within their organisations where data protection is needed most. The most common departments to have budget allocated for spend on GDPR are finance and IT (31%). This is particularly relevant as most businesses believe their critical data predominantly lies in the finance department (55%), suggesting that finance will be under the spotlight in the coming months as organisations look at how they can prepare for GDPR.

When looking at the size of an organisation, 46% of the businesses that reported they are ready for GDPR had between 500 – 999 employees. Compared with larger corporations of 5000 or more employees, only 19% reported they are ready, suggesting that bigger is not necessarily better. Smaller enterprises are leading the way over their larger counterparts in putting processes and technology in place ahead of May 2018.

While many organisations are expecting to be ready for GDPR, our research has shown that a typical company-wide IT project takes around six months to roll-out, meaning those that aren’t ready now are running out of time to introduce new technology which could help them comply with the legislation.

Dr Bunker added:

“The key focuses for GDPR compliance are educating employees and understanding where your data lies. However, organisations that are still looking at how they can prepare should focus on security solutions that can be integrated within existing infrastructures, such as Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools and content inspection software, which are the biggest priorities in preventing data loss and can be used to demonstrate compliance with GDPR legislation. This can save time and costs by adding these to existing security investments instead of the removing old technology and replacing it with completely new solutions.

 

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BT and Airbus create cyber security Masterclass competition in London

Cyber security experts from BT, Airbus, NCA, Bank of England, Cisco, McAfee, Checkpoint, De Montfort University’s Cyber Technology Institute and 4PumpCourt have today announced that they will stage the most advanced Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass ever, on the 12-14th November 2017 in London. Spanning two and a half days, Masterclass is the culmination of a year’s worth of nationwide face-to-face and online competitions, designed to unearth and nurture new talent for the cyber security industry and address a critical skills shortage that affects government, businesses and the public.

The competition, led by BT, in partnership with Airbus, will see dozens of the UK’s top cyber enthusiasts; face each other in a battle that will test their capabilities to deal with cyber-attacks and understanding of business know-how. The challenges will evaluate contestants’ technical, business, and soft skills, which mirror the different ways professionals, communicate today.

This year’s Masterclass will demonstrate how cyber security can be an accessible career choice that has a number of different facets and pathways. BT recently identified 87 different roles in the cyber security industry, each requiring a different skillset, which will be reflected in this year’s competition.

Highly experienced professionals from government, public and private organisations across the country will judge the contestants for a number of aptitudes that will rank their suitability for jobs in the sector. The best performing candidate will be crowned Cyber Security Challenge UK Champion. Thousands of pounds worth of career-enabling prizes will be issued to those who take in the finale including training courses, tech equipment and even a fully paid-for Master’s degree sponsorship at De Montfort University, allowing one lucky contestant the chance to study an MSc in Cyber Security.

Over the years, more than half of the contestants in the Challenge’s face-to-face and Masterclass competitions have moved on into jobs in the industry after demonstrating their skills in front of the industry assessors. Competitions like this are crucial for identifying top quality recruits that could reduce the skills deficit. Industry association (ISC)2 predicts the skills gap will reach 1.8 million unfilled positions by 2022, leaving a lack of professionals able to defend our infrastructure from hackers.

Nigel Harrison, acting CEO, Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “This year’s consortium of sponsors are working on taking Masterclass to the next level, adding new dimensions and levels of gameplay that we have yet to see in our competitions to date. We are always trying to match our challenges to the way industry is evolving and ensure that they test for the skills the industry requires, and we look forward to seeing how the finalists fare in a modern cyber security scenario.”

Rob Partridge, head of BT Cyber Academy said: “Filling the cyber security skills deficit is immensely important for the long-term safety of the UK’s digital economy. We need to make sure that industry and government are collaborating to make sure that young people are engaged and switched on to the breadth of roles in cyber security and the various career paths into them. These competitions are vitally important to unearthing hidden talent, and helping to develop the next generation of UK cyber talent to the standard we are seeing in many other countries.”

Kevin Jones, head of Cyber Security Architecture & Innovation, Airbus said: “In order to continue protecting UK infrastructure and businesses from both current and future cyber threats it is vital to address the skills shortage. Competitions such as the Cyber Challenge help provide a safe and representative environment for contestants to gain experience and learn from industry experts, which in turn will help them understand the variety of skills needed, and careers available, across the cyber security industry.”

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Nationwide competition brings 5G one step closer

A £25 million competition that will cement the UK’s position as a world leader in the development of 5G technology has been announced by Digital Minister Matt Hancock today.

The “5G Testbeds and Trials” competition is part of the UK Government’s £740m National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to support the next generation of digital infrastructure, including 5G and full fibre broadband.

New test locations are being sought all across the UK to support the future rollout of 5G – ‘fifth generation’ – technology. Government is now encouraging interested parties from all around the UK to come forward with project proposals for match funded grants of up to £5 million.

This 5G innovation boost also comes on the back of the announcement that by the end of this year a government investment of £1.7 billion will have supported the rollout of superfast broadband to 95% of the UK.

5G will enable internet speeds to keep up with the increasing numbers of devices that require a connection, in particular the explosion of smart devices in the home and the ‘internet of things’. With potential speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, it will also make it easier for people to rapidly download and upload ultra HD and 3D video.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said:

“To stay competitive we must be at the cutting edge of new technology and we are determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use 5G. In these very early stages we want all ideas, from all parts of the country, that will help us get the technology and the roll-out right to have a nationwide network of 5G innovators.

“It’s all part of our determination to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, and deliver for all citizens now and in the years to come.”

In the 2016 Autumn Statement, the Government announced its intention to invest in a nationally coordinated programme of 5G testbed facilities and application trials, as part of a £1bn package of announcements made to boost the UK’s digital infrastructure. The Future Connectivity Challenge Group report suggests that UK leadership in 5G could result in the opportunity to create £173 billion of incremental UK GDP growth over a ten year period from 2020 to 2030

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones, MP said:

“Improving productivity requires targeted and sustained investment, which is why we are backing the UK’s digital infrastructure with over a billion pounds of government funding. Whether we are doing business online or the weekly grocery shop online, strong and reliable connections are crucial to this.

“Today’s announcement is a big step forward in bringing 5G to the UK and ensuring our digital infrastructure is fit for the future.”

Projects are expected to be industry-led or have a strong industry component and funding will only be available to UK registered organisations, carrying out projects in the UK and working in collaboration with others.

Details on how to apply are available (from 10.00am Monday 16 October) at https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/search

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Barclays delivers skills boost with Cyber Security Challenge UK competition

Barclays and Cabinet Office-backed security initiative Cyber Security Challenge UK, hosted an immersive competition to test the skills of thirty cyber enthusiasts. The competition required contestants to adopt the role of interns at a fictitious cyber security firm, who had to defend their company from a cyber-attack, triggered by an insider, all while their superiors were on a team-building canoeing adventure.

The competition is the last of 2017’s Cyber Security Challenge UK face-to-face competitions to unearth the UK’s hidden cyber talent and place these individuals in public and private sector cybersecurity roles to fill the critical cyber security skills gap. Not only does cyber security offer an exciting and varied career, but a lucrative one too – with roles averaging over £60,000 per year after training.

The competition took place in national heritage site and grand country house, Radbroke Hall, which is also the current site of Barclays’ Technology Centre. In the scenario, the ‘interns’, who were staffing a fictitious security firm called ‘Research4U’, had to spring into action after a hacking group launched a large-scale cyber-attack on the company, stealing confidential technology, source code and client data. The story saw hackers demand a ransom of £10m to prevent releasing the data to the press.

Competitors had to infiltrate and stop the fictional hacker group in order to destroy the leaked information before it could be released to the ‘press’. Leading cyber specialists from Barclays and other leading industry organisations assessed the contestants on their vulnerability assessment, reconnaissance, attack strategies and espionage skills in order to rank their performance and suitability for careers in the industry.

The winning team was team Wormhole: Carolyn Yates, Isabel Whistlecroft, Kajusz Dykiel, Peter Campbell and Waldo Woch.

The eight contestants that have qualified for next month’s Masterclass grand finale were: Cameron Howes, Asher Caswell, Tom Brook, Vlad Ellis, Mohammed Rahman, David Young, Rajiv Shah and Isabel Whistlecroft. They will join the previous F2F winners from earlier in the year at Masterclass where they will compete against each other and have the opportunity to network with industry experts, in addition to winning career-enhancing prizes including degree scholarships, training courses, technology and gadgets and industry memberships.

The competition mirrors recent high profile attacks, such as WannaCry, where hackers held organisations to ransom across the globe. With the Public Accounts Committee revealing earlier this yearthat the Government’s ability to protect Britain from high-level cyber-attacks is undermined by a skills shortage, the need to find individuals with cyber skills has never been greater.

Troels Oerting, Barclays Group Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Group Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) said:

“The best way to learn about cyber security is to engage in realistic scenarios, such as the competition that we’ve just hosted. Saturday’s event created a scenario that really tested a candidate’s ability to perform under pressure, think strategically, work as a team and display leadership skills. A career in cyber security requires various skills, including the ability to second-guess hackers and make critical decisions quickly. It was very encouraging to see students so immersed in solving the challenge we set them, and I wish all the candidates the very best in their careers.”

Nigel Harrison, acting Chief Executive of Cyber Security Challenge UK said:

“This year’s scenarios have been varied in nature in order to demonstrate the range of cyber threats that this nation faces as well as the sheer breadth of sectors that need cyber security professionals – from banking and finance, to automotive and even retail. Sponsors, like Barclays make this possible and, in turn, help to open the door to dozens more careers. I would like to encourage any budding cyber security specialist, or ‘white hat hackers’, to consider applying for our competitions. The nation faces a growing cyber security threat, so we are in real need of talent that can keep organisations, and the public, secure. Why not Challenge Yourself today?”

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HMRC prevents one million visits to scam websites

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has averted over a million visits to deceptive websites, including those which promote misleading and costly helpline numbers, it announced today.

When someone searches online for HMRC’s phone numbers or digital services they can be directed to other websites. Some of these promote premium rate, non-HMRC numbers as a means of reaching the department. These are in fact call forwarding services which connect callers to HMRC, but at a hefty price, despite HMRC’s own 0300 numbers being free or charged at the national landline rate. In other cases, sites charge for forwarding information to HMRC which can be provided free of charge through GOV.UK.

Too often this is an attempt to mislead customers and gain business at their expense, without making clear the service is not affiliated with HMRC.

Since January, HMRC’s cyber security team has taken control of over 75 of these dubious sites by challenging their ownership. Any members of the public trying to access these sites will now be redirected to HMRC’s GOV.UK pages, which provide HMRC’s genuine contact numbers as well as advice on how to spot these misleading sites.

Through this work, HMRC has redirected over a million customers to GOV.UK, averting a potential one million visits to malicious or misleading websites.

Commenting on the milestone, HMRC’s Director for Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, said:

“HMRC takes the abuse of its brand very seriously. Attempts to dupe customers in this way won’t be tolerated and we will always act to protect the public from malicious or misleading websites.”

As well as taking over ownership of these sites, HMRC is also combating other types of scams that customers are being targeted by. This includes requesting the removal of over 20,000 malicious websites in the last year. Information on how to spot these scams is published on the HMRC website.

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Reinforcing Cyber Security in Critical Industrial Infrastructure Networks

Cyber Attacks has consistently ranked amongst the top threats faced by businesses. Cyber Security as a subject that has now reached boardroom agendas. In an OT/ICS environment, the threat is amplified much more because it can have ramifications that impact human lives and their safety. The region itself has been witnessed some of the biggest cyber-attacks against energy companies. The region has been quick to respond and we have seen that the regulatory environment in the region is changing pace to ensure improved cyber-security within the sector. Organizations have been spending and revamping their strategies to address this threat. Countries and major companies are now becoming more focusing and investing time to ensure that the critical infrastructure networks are secured in effective manner. Security and quality testing for operational technology (OT) is a specific and demanding discipline. It requires an industrial mindset, in-depth OT cyber security knowledge and the ability to apply best practices to industrial process environments.

3rd edition of GCC OT Security Forum is taking place during 24th -26th October 2017 at Al Khobar Saudi Arabia. The forum  aims to grant a platform to cyber security and operational team to discuss and brainstorm ideas that could potentially hold the keys to questions that may help us build secure and better future for critical infrastructure.

 

Contact Details : Arif.K.P

Phone Number : +91 9972 611544

Email Address : arif.kp@anficon.com

Event Website : www.otsecurityforum.com

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