The Australian government's Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) has announced a nationwide cyber security competition, aimed at encouraging the development of the next generation of vulnerability management experts.
Telecommunications provider Telstra and technology giant Microsoft have both also pledged their involvement in Cyber Security Challenge Australia (CySCA) 2013, which will take place over the 7th and 8th of May next year.
According to DBCDE deputy secretary Abul Rizvi, the competition will see teams of Australian undergraduate university students evaluated as to their cyber security problem solving skills.
"Developing a foundation of skilled ICT workers is essential to both securing Australia's online assets and providing the innovation needed to harness the opportunities of the digital age," said Mr Rizvi in a statement issued October 25.
"CySCA 2013 reinforces the Government’s commitment to ensuring that Australia builds the ICT and cyber security skills base that it needs in order to grow both Australia’s burgeoning digital economy and protect our online interests."
Competitions such as this – which encourage ethical hacking and vulnerability identification and mitigation – have become increasingly popular in recent years as countries look to their young people to help prepare for the future of cyber security in the state.
Participants in CySCA 2013 will be required to evaluate a fake network of Australian businesses in order to determine where vulnerabilities might be present, and what steps would need to be taken to correct those issues.
The winning team will receive an all-inclusive trip to the 2013 Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas, taking place from July 27th to August 1st 2013, while smartphone and tablet devices are also up for the grabs.
Black Hat conferences are regular cyber security briefings which occur frequently throughout the USA and abroad.
Founded in 1997 by noted hacker Jeff Moss – the same mind behind the annual Def Con conventions – Black Hat has become one of the foremost destinations for those interested in developing their knowledge regarding information security.
"Students involved in the inaugural Challenge agreed it was a fun and educational event, and also a useful vehicle to raise the profile of cyber-related university courses. I encourage university undergraduates across Australia to take part in this exciting competition," said Mr Rizvi.
Interested participants can sign up for CySCA via the Cyber Challenge website, with applications closing on March 4 2013.