Minister for communications Malcolm Turnbull has formally launched this year's Cyber Security Challenge Australia competition, to be held for 24 hours between May 7 and 8 at universities across Australia.
Held since 2012, the CySCA 2014 competition will test "Australia's best cyber-skilled undergraduates" with a virtual computer network scenario, the minister said.
Turnbull did not provide any further details on what the scenario would entail, and whether it would involve detecting and defending against simulated advanced persistent threats (APTs) and other state-sponsored cyber attacks.
The competition aims to boost awareness of information technology security qualifications and careers in the field.
Last year's CySCA event highlighted a shortage of talent in the cyber security arena, as private organisations and governments compete to lure IT graduates to come and work for them.
Winners of this year's competition score a trip to the Black Hat 2014 security conference in Las Vegas, with second and third placed teams receiving an unspecified phone or tablet from sponsors Telstra and NBN Co.
Individual registrations for CySCA 2014 are free and close on April 1. Interested parties can enter through participants' universities or TAFEs, which in turn have to register their interest in fielding teams by March 31.