Conroy opens undergrad pen test competition

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Seeks to entice with Black Hat conference ticket.

The Federal Government has invited Australian undergraduate students to participate in a national penetration testing competition early next month.

It expects to attract 15 to 20 teams from each university to the 24-hour, 2012 Cyber Defence University Challenge, which commences at noon on April 3.

Each team will comprise up to four university students and be judged on how quickly and how well it achieves six hacking goals and three other tasks on a fictitious business network.

According to the Government’s information for participating universities, teams will also be asked to develop a “secure network design for long-term implementation”.

The winning team will be announced by April 6 and be sponsored by Telstra to attend the July 2012 Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas.

Second and third prizes include tablets and smartphones from Telstra. The Government noted that contestants may also be offered secondments or work experience placements at Telstra and government agencies.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy last week said that the competition stemmed from issues that arose in the Government’s Cyber White Paper, due for release later this year.

“The need for greater awareness of cyber security issues and for more high-skilled ICT graduates were two of the key themes to emerge from the public engagement process,” he stated.

“The challenge will raise awareness of the importance of cyber security, particularly in the university and business sectors, while also showcasing the diverse career opportunities for ICT graduates.”

Teams are required to register for the challenge by March 27.

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