UK Government To Launch ‘Hack Idol’

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Now this should be interesting, perhaps they should turn it into a hacking based reality TV show? From the description though it looks more centered around defense than offense and perhaps should be called ‘System Administrator Idol’.

Not quite so catchy though is it.

Well at least they doing something to try and nurture talent in the security arena, even if it is a little misguided.

The UK government has launched plans to find the best young hackers through a talent competition.

Would-be cyberdefenders will be rated on their abilities to thwart attacks and hack into websites. Winners will be offered courses by the respected SANS Institute and assigned mentors.

University course and work placements also form part of the putative programme, due to take its first intake late next year, The Times reports.

Hack Idol may be a catchy concept, and it’s easy to see how eccentric security minister Lord West – who famously reckons reformed naughty-boy hackers might play an important role in Britain’s cyber-defence – might get sold on the idea.

The prizes are pretty good for anyone into infosec, courses from SANS, uni courses and possible work placement.

It would be a great start to a security career for the average hacker nerd currently doing his A-Levels at college.

I guess as well as building the security industry, they are also trying to entice the more blackhat students to defect to the white side – or at least be a little more grey than black.

In addition, there’s a precedent from across the Atlantic. The UK scheme resembles the much larger US Cyber Challenge programme which is “looking for 10,000 young Americans with the skills to fill the ranks of cyber security practitioners, researchers, and warriors”.

The winner of the first US Cyber Challenge was Michael Coppola, 17, of Connecticut, who gained plaudits for breaking into the scoring system and awarding himself extra points – a move straight out of cult haxploitation flick WarGames.

Sounds like good fun, but the idea of taking the now-ubiquitous TV talent show/glorified karaoke concept and applying it to computer security to find the next Neo sounds more than a little wrong-headed.

It definitely does have some similarities to the US program, which as new as it is hasn’t really proved anything yet either.

It’s something to watch out for, we’ll have to see where it goes.

Source: The Register


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4 Responses to UK Government To Launch ‘Hack Idol’

  1. Niczar October 13, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    First prize: free trip to Gitmo.
    Ask last year’s winner, Gary McKinnon.

  2. hannibal October 14, 2009 at 7:09 am #

    I was wondering what they do to/with the winner… I would not like to win and say: “Hey look at me i’m the best hacker.” – noise: BUMM HEADSHOT! :D

  3. lordspartner October 14, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    is it an entirely govt parole? i think more caution should be taken, its the govt we talking about here, u don’t really know what they intend getting of it.If the goal is aimed at job creation in cybersec, then i believe its a way to help us stop using our knowledge for the darkside.

  4. Kripesh October 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    Hey guys i want to participate in this contest. Can u please help me.
    PLZ tell me how can i participate in hack idol.

    Thanks in advance.