Hundreds of experienced cyber professionals will gather in Washington in mid-December for the SANS Institute’s second annual NetWars Tournament of Champions.
Cybersecurity competitions are no longer limited to just high school and college students.
Hundreds of experienced cybersecurity professionals will gather in Washington Dec. 15-16 for the SANS Institute’s second annual NetWars Tournament of Champions, which will pit the best and brightest security professionals against each other to determine who has the greatest skills in tackling real world information security challenges. The tournament will coincide with the SANS Cyber Defense Initiative.
“A lot of organizations, especially government agencies, are saying they no longer need any more policy people, favoring instead hands-on technical skills,” Ed Skoudis, director of NetWars, told Wired Workplace. “Declining budgets are putting a strain on training, so we provide a different mode of learning by doing as opposed to getting lectured.”
SANS started the NetWars competition four years ago following the success of its Cyber Aces high school and Cyber Quests college student competitions. The competition provides four levels of training to cybersecurity professionals.
The NetWars Tournament of Champions will bring the best of the best from previous competitions to compete in mock environments that test defensive, offensive and analytic cyber skills as well as participants' ability to fight off intruders while trying to take over target systems and networks.
The first Tournament of Champions in 2012 included more than 150 participants from around the world. Top honors went to members of the Belgian Defense Force and the U.S. military. With rising interest from U.S. federal agencies and the military, the competition is expecting more champions for this year's competition, Skoudis said.
“To add to the challenge, over a hundred new participants will play alongside past champions, building their own skills, testing their mettle and seeing if they have what it takes to be the next NetWars champion,” he said.
NetWars infuses gamification into tournament challenges to provide a fresh approach to hands-on learning that enables participants to hone their skills and discover where they need to expand their skills to stay current on the latest threats. Each participant is given a scorecard that rates their level of defensive, offensive and analytic cybersecurity skills and flags areas where they need additional training.
“The cybersecurity field needs people with hands-on skills, the hunters who can find the flaws before the bad guys do,” Skoudis said. “The idea with NetWars is to provide the hands-on skills in defense, analytics and offense, answering the question of what a really awesome person would need to know. We built it with the ideal candidate for a cyber defender and warrior in mind, and that’s something participants strive for.”
For more information on how to participate in this year’s NetWars Tournament of Champions, click here.