Universally Challenged – A national competition between UK universities to test cyber security skills

Who are we?
The Cyber Security Challenge is a national programme of competitions designed to attract and inspire new talent into the cyber security profession. Backed by government and a host of industry sponsors, the Challenge sets competitions that test existing cyber security skills; runs residential cyber camps that help individuals develop new skills; and provides information through networking events and its website that helps guide potential employees on ways to secure jobs in the sector.

What is Universally Challenged?
A national competition between UK university departments that provides them a way to benchmark their cyber security skills, and pit their brightest cyber talent (including international and overseas) against budding professionals from other institutions.
The competition is simple – each university department or team that wishes to compete must design a code breaking puzzle/cipher – a digital puzzle designed to mystify and flummox other participations, which requires a combination of cyber-relevant skills to crack and which fits within the competition rules. Each team’s cipher will be shared with every other registered University team and the challenge is to crack as many ciphers as possible before the competition ends. The winner is the team judged to have successfully cracked the most code breaking puzzles/ciphers.

What makes a good code breaking puzzle? An example of one of ours is here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4Odla8I0Hs that was easy, but it provides an idea of what is required.

When does it take place?
The competition starts on 1st MARCH 2014 and team registration is required by 1st APRIL 2014. We hope to receive your cipher by 1st OCTOBER giving us until 1st DEC 2014 to check and release to all. The winners will be announced at our annual awards ceremony in March 2015.

Why should you participate?

  •  A great way to provide a real world challenge to students, department employees or a combination of both that allows everyone to apply some of the skills they have learned in a safe but competitive environment
  • An opportunity to integrate something innovative into course curricula meaning students’ contributions can be graded and count towards their coursework.
  • Attempting other universities’ ciphers provides access to new ideas and best practice in the cyber security sector
  • A dedicated PR and marketing programme for University Challenged will boost awareness of your participation and your university’s capabilities in cyber, helping to boost future student applications
  • Open to higher education institution in the UK with students from any country eligible to participate within a team

Email steph@cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk until the new website area is ready!

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